Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family

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9780007249329: Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family

The dramatic tale of one family’s tempestuous century in Iraq from 1900 to the present.

An exquisite multi-generational memoir, ‘Late for Tea at the Deer Palace’ tells the story of an extraordinary family's century in Iraq. It brings to life the fascinating history of a nation from its days as a province of the Ottoman Empire, through to European domination, independence, revolution, dictatorship and the wars that have seized the attention of the modern world.

From the grand opulence of her great-grandfather's house in Ottoman Baghdad and her larger than life grandmother, Tamara Chalabi guides us through several generations until the moment when the country's order, to which her family belonged, comes crashing down.

In 2003, she visits her ancestral home for the first time and finds a country sliding out of the tyrannical grip of Saddam's rule. She must find a way to reconcile the old and the new, a sense of alienation with a longing for a homeland. As she explores the nature of identity, memory and what it means to have inherited exile, the magic of this country and its people are brought to life.

Bringing together east and west, the poetic and the political, Chalabi recreates an old world that has been lost behind recent headlines of war, occupation and suicide bombings.

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Review:

‘Tamara’s tale is not about WMD or insurgents. It is the story of a bourgeois Iraqi family set against the opulent backdrop of the Ottoman Empire … It is the story of Iraq, but told from an Iraqi woman’s perspective; then it also becomes the story of a young woman’s struggle for identity … Whimsical, magical … profound’ Telegraph

‘A valuable insight into the complexities and compromises of Iraqi political culture…From the sweet buffalo cream her great-grandfather adores to the dancing girls in the risqué new cafes her grandfather frequents, the richness of an “expired epoch” long past is lovingly rendered’ Sunday Times

‘An absorbing book…a complex family memoir attuned to the beats of Iraqi history…a mediation on exile, a moving family portrait, thoughtful and well-researched, Late for Tea at the Deer Palace gives Iraq, as much as the Chalabi family, its story’ Spectator

‘It takes a lot of skill to interweave the history of a nation with that of a family and it is a tribute to Chalabi that Late for Tea at the Deer Palace is such an accomplished book. It is a moving memoir of a prominent family surviving the occasionally terrifying challenges of one of the world’s most troubled and turbulent countries’ Literary Review

From the Back Cover:

A lyrical, haunting, multi-generational memoir, Late for Tea at the Deer Palace tells the story of an extraordinary family's century in Iraq.

From the grand opulence of her great-grandfather's house in Ottoman Baghdad and her larger than life grandmother, Tamara Chalabi guides us through several generations until the moment when the country's order, to which her family belonged, comes crashing down.

In 2003, she visits her ancestral home for the first time and finds a country sliding out of the tyrannical grip of Saddam's rule. As she explores the nature of identity, memory and what it means to have inherited exile, the magic of this country and its people are brought to life.

Bringing together east and west, the poetic and the political, Chalabi recreates an old world that has been lost behind recent headlines of war, occupation and suicide bombings.

‘Tamara’s tale is not about weapons of mass destruction or insurgents … It is the story of Iraq, but told from an Iraqi woman’s perspective; then it also becomes the story of a young woman’s struggle for identity … Whimsical [and] magical’ Telegraph

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Chalabi, Tamara
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