Namir, a young Iraqi scholar with a PhD from Harvard, is hired by filmmakers to document the devastation of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On an excursion to Baghdad, Namir ventures into al-Mutanabbi Street, famous for its bookshops, where he meets Wadud, an eccentric librarian who is trying to catalogue everything destroyed by the war: from objects, buildings, books and manuscripts, flora and fauna to human beings. Namir becomes obsessed with Wadud's archive and, looking back on his life in New York, discovers how deeply intertwined it is with fragments of his land's past and present. Almost a stylistically ambitious "landscape exercise" between the wreckage of war and the power of memory.
Sinan Antoon, born and raised in Baghdad, is a poet, novelist, translator and academic. He received a doctorate in Arabic Literature in the United States in 2006. His poems and essays have appeared in several journals, in English and Arabic. His published novels include 2010's Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman ("Only the Pomegranate"), winner of the Best Arab Book Award in 2014. He is currently an associate professor at New York University's Gallatin School and co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya magazine.