Conceived as a murder mystery, a political reportage, a personal odyssey of a man who refuses to succumb to the need to define himself and his Baghdad in terms of one identity. First published in Arabic in 2008, The Tobacco Keeper relates the investigation of the life of a celebrated Jewish Iraqi musician who was expelled to Israel in the 1950s. Having returned to Iraq, via Iran, the musician is thrown out as an Israeli spy. Returning for the third time under a forged passport, he is murdered in mysterious circumstances. Arriving in Baghdad's Green Zone during the US-led occupation, a journalist writing a story about the musician's life discovers an underworld of fake identities, mafias and militias. Even among the journalists, there is a secret world of identity games, fake names and ulterior motives. This is a novel written as investigative journalism, including apparently authentic sources, meticulously researched in Baghdad, Teheran, Istanbul and Damascus.
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