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Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family (Paperback)
“It’s an admirable endeavor to have Iraq addressed by someone who is in so many ways able to approach it from two worlds. . . . Tamara Chalabi has the stuff, in every sense, that is needful to undertake this.” —Christopher Hitchens
In the tradition of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans and Bhutto Benazir’s Reconciliation comes Tamara Chalabi’s unique memoir of returning to her family’s homeland, Iraq. In this epic story of one daughter’s journey through the annals of her family’s tumultuous history, Chalabi’s powerful voice and piercing vision illuminate her country and its people as never before.
Just ten days after Baghdad’s fall in 2003, Tamara Chalabi arrived in the city after a lifetime in exile—finally entering the homeland she’d known only through stories and her own imagination.
Investigating four generations of her family’s history at the forefront of Iraqi society, Chalabi offers a rich portrait of Middle Eastern life and a provocative look at a lost Iraq. Unforgettable characters provide glimpses of the end of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of the Iraqi state, the flowering of “the Paris of the Middle East,” and Iraq’s descent into chaos. At once intimate and magisterial, Chalabi’s memoir of return and reclamation vividly captures the rich history of a country shattered by war and a family that has never forgotten its past.
About the Author
Tamara Chalabi holds a PhD in history from Harvard University. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Slate, and The Sunday Times, among other publications.
“An absorbing social history of Iraq. . . . A work of exile literature, beautifully written, rich with human detail as only personal family histories can be.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Chalabi reconstructs her family’s past in novelistic scenes that demonstrate impressive scholarship.” — The New Yorker
“One small way to rebuild a country after war may be to hold a picture of its true beauty, which is what Chalabi does.” — The Los Angeles Times
“A sweeping, enchanting memoir . . . Late for Tea at the Deer Palace deftly combines elements of history and memoir, but shines most when the author lets the characters’ stories tell the history of Iraq.” — The Associated Press
“A gripping and well-told saga. . . . An eye-opening account of the family’s long history at the center of Iraq’s royal court.” — The Nation
“Fascinating. . . . Chalabi is a natural storyteller. . . . There are absorbing vignettes that describe everyday life in Iraqi high society as it has never before appeared in English. . . . An often beautiful and vivid but tragically belated book.” — Ann Marlowe, The Daily
“It’s an admirable endeavour to have Iraq addressed by someone who is in so many ways able to approach it from two worlds. . . . Tamara Chalabi has the stuff, in every sense, that is needful to undertake this.” — Christopher Hitchens