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.
Tamara Chalabi has a PhD from Harvard University in History. Her first book, 'The Shi'is of Jabal'Amil and the New Lebanon: 1918-1943' was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2006. She has written for the 'Sunday Times', 'New Republic', 'Wall Street Journal', 'Slate' and 'Prospect', on war, culture, encounters, and identities. She lives in London.