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Papa Sartre

After a failed study mission in France, Abd al-Rahman returns home to Iraq to launch an existentialist movement akin to that of his hero, Jean-Paul Satre. Meanwhile, his wealth and family prestige guarantee him an idle life spent in drinking, debauchery, and frequenting a well-known nightclub. But soon he is contemplating suicide as an act of philosophical despair. A biographer chosen by his presumed friends narrates the story of a somewhat bewildered young man who like other members of his generation was searching for a meaning to his life. This parody of the abuses and extravagances of pseudo-philosophers in the Baghdad of the Sixties throws into relief Iraqi intellectual and cultural life of the time.

Ali Bader, born in Baghdad in 1964, studied philosophy and French literature and worked as a war correspondent covering the Middle East. He is the author of nine novels, many of which have won awards. He now lives in Amman, Jordan.

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