A novella, written by Saddam Hussein and finished in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War is set to be translated into English for the first time by UK publisher Hesperus Press. The novella is said to be a cross between Game of Thrones and House of Cards style fiction and will be released in December 2016.
The novel, already released in several languages with titles including Begone Devils, and Get Out, You Damned One focuses on a tribe living by the Euphrates river 1,500 years ago. The Euphrates ousts an invading force in what is described as a Game of Thrones style battle.
Hesperus is an independent publisher in the UK and they release books that have either gone out of print, or have yet to find an English translator. The publisher has printed many interesting foreign language books in recent years, but this may well be the most controversial yet.
It’s thought that the manuscript was originally smuggled out of Iraq by Saddam’s daughter, Raghad in 2003, and by 2005 she announced plans to publish the 186 page novel in Jordan. In that instance the novel was quickly banned from sale resulting in a flood of bootleg copies. Eventually in 2006 Japanese published Tokuma Shoten released the book under the title Devil’s Dance, and soon after it was translated into Turkish. Hesperus are yet to announce what the book’s English title will be.
During his life Hussein published three novels under the pen name ‘the Author’. In 2000 he wrote Zabibah and the King where Zabibah represented the Iraqi people and her cruel rapist husband symbolised the US. This was followed by political novel The Fortified Castle, released in 2001 and then autobiographical novel Men and the City in 2002.
Hesperus has announced that it is considering releasing all novels, and Hussein’s memoirs in the future.
The title will be released in December, the 10th anniversary of the dictator’s death, and with the Chilcot Inquiry, it’s certainly very topical. Hesperus defended its decision against the critics by saying they are politically neutral, and only publish what they find interesting a stand we at For Reading Addicts wholeheartedly agree with.
My curiousity is piqued, this one is going on the TBR!