Sunday, May 20, 2012

Literature, Fathers, Psychiatry, and Me

When I graduated from secondary school I proposed to my parents the college of literature as my career. My father told me that I can read literature whenever I like, and I may even practice it, while being a doctor.
In the first three years in the medical college I was among those with the highest marks. When my father left for the UAE, my marks, along with my mother's health, started to deteriorate.  
My father came back to find me interested in psychiatry, and our rapport with each other was already, pale.
 It was in Al-Hilla where I was trying to make a family of friends and I succeeded, hence, I adore Al-Hilla.
"The Death of the Father" is a novel of Ahmed Khalaf published in Baghdad by "The House of the Cultural Affairs" in 2002. In its cover there is a painting by a painter named: Salma Al-Allaq, which might symbolize Baghdad, the city that Amjad, the protagonist, adores. Amjad's father had been killed in an unclear circumstances while he was in a visit to his village of origin. Amjad was "the son who was forced to be a father" while he was only 19. He now works in a newspaper. He started also selling books in Al-Mutanabbee Street. He told us about his lost of that book entitled "The Treasure" who worth a fortune. 
 He told us about his friend's loss of his brother, Ismail. His friend also had lost his mother after his parents were divorced. His mother married his paternal uncle Noah. The story tells about a psychological instability of the father of Amjad's friend. The novel even allures to the ending of the father in a mental hospital.
Hussein Sarkam Hassan, an Iraqi doctor who is interested in literature, had written a book about Ahmad Khalaf novels. Dr. Sarmak start with the note that Ahmad Khalaf had written an article about Paolo Coelo's novel "Alchemist" which tells about the searching of a treasure, which finally appears to be in the homeland of the researcher. 
 Dr. Sarmak starts to give evidences of the recurrence of the theme of "Absenteeism" in Khalaf stories, especially "The Death of the Father". Dr. Sarmak had even entitled his book about Khalf: "The Bloody Comedy of Absenteeism: a study in the stories and novels of the Iraqi creative Ahmad Khalaf".
Amjad, in the novel, had an absent father, a lost book, and poverty. His friend got a lost mother, brother named Ismail, a paternal-uncle named Noah whom he liked and preferred to his father. 
 I didn't finish nor the novel, nor the critic about it, but I could not help not buying a newer novel by Ahmed Khalaf, entitled: "The Passion Bearer". I could not but surprise happily when read in its first chapter about the aloofness and strangeness of the protagonist, and about his memories of his lost brother: Ismail. And you know what? In the second chapter, the protagonist, who still unnamed to me, had read, while walking the streets, a name of one of his old friends in the secondary school, in a window of a private clinic of a psychiatrist. His friend had become a psychiatrist. He decided to pay him a visit in his private clinic. Not only for the memories for their comradeship, but for other reasons.

Three books rests over my laptop with Herta Muller offering a cigarette in the desktop, and Patrick Suskind' Pigeon is giving me.... an eye. 


tracy said...

Hi Sami,

i really want to read "The Passion Bearer", it sounds very good. Thank you for describing it. i loved this entry! And what you said about " you an eye"....brilliant!

Take best of care, my friend,

PS i remember how much you loved Al Hilla

saminkie said...

Thank you dear friend Tracy, you always support me in what I write. I appreciate your comments very much my friend. Thank you.