Finished Ahmed Saadawi's "Frankenstein in Baghdad." It’s worth contrasting with Shelley's Frankenstein. Shelley writes about Frankenstein's misuse of Science, i.e., galvanism, in creating an ultimately vengeful Creature, existing primarily in a Romantic world of wild nature, the background of which is the setting for the novel. Saadawi's Frankenstein in Baghdad, OTOH, is set in an urban hell of murders, car bombings, massacres and various varieties of sectarian warfare. His Frankenstein is a monster created from the parts of bomb victims, born out of religion and magic, caught up in a world of brutality and suffering.
There's been a minor debate about the quality of this book. With respect to those who did not like it, I think it works quite well, with clearly delineated characters and a fascinating narrative structure that at times almost turns in on itself, but not quite like the Arabian Nights.
I never doubted that it was a good idea. I just think it was terribly executed. Somehow Saadawi has written a book about war, monsters, car bombs etc and made it boring. It should have been rip-roaring but he gets far too hung up on making satirical points and forgets that it's supposed to be entertainment as well.
In the early part of the book I thought I detected a Hemingwayesque style but that faded out. I was most entranced about the depiction of Baghdad and thought it was more a portrayal of a city under pressure, I did feel about the last quarter of the book dragged a bit, but thought that might have bebn me, because by that time I was looking forward to Greene's “Ministry of Fear.”
I was going to continue reading some more Gothic novels, but over the years I've lost the taste for them. Am going to read some Graham Greene instead.