A journalist and her fixer struggle for the truth where truth is now a victim.
Nabil al-Amari is an English teacher in Baghdad, in Saddam's Iraq, when a chance encounter with Samara Katchens, an American journalist covering the war, changes his life forever. It is April 2003 and American and British forces have recently invaded Iraq.
Samara, or Sam for short, is ambitious, cynical and determined. Nabil is both fascinated and bewildered by her, and he's keen to show her things she doesn't notice in her rush to cover the news. She is pushed by her editor to seek concrete proof for a story concerning payments for false documents - a practice which breaks all journalistic codes of ethics - ''as if truth were so hard in that way, like rocks and concrete''. In Iraq it is rarely so.
As Sam single-mindedly pursues this story, she discovers a chasm between her editor's expectations and the reality she faces in a city torn apart by war and conflicting loyalties. And in her determination to uncover the truth, she takes one gamble too many, endangering herself, Nabil and his family.
A fascinating story which gives the texture of life in Iraq as it was lived by foreign journalists and Iraqis at the time of the invasion. It conveys a fresher sense of those years than a thousand news reports. - Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent, The Independent
A fast-paced, evocative thriller that opens our eyes to the excitements and dangers of Iraq after the fall of Saddam. This gripping, beautifully-observed tale, written with a ring of true authenticity, captures the challenges of a journalist and her loyal fixer navigating their way through an Iraq rarely seen by outsiders. - Rory McCarthy, Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq
A journalist's fixer is a go-between in so many senses: linguistic, cultural. The fixer straddles borders and boundaries, helping each try to communicate with the Other. Ilene Prusher conjures this so beautifully in her stunning, thrilling debut, as Nabil, an Iraqi English teacher with a poetic soul, is drawn into the unfamiliar, learning as much about his own country and people as about the world in which Samara, the American journalist who has hired him, moves so easily. A unique novel, Baghdad Fixer's compelling plot is combined with poignant and difficult insights into the life and tragedies of ordinary Iraqis during the war. This is not just a wonderful read, it is an important book for helping us, too, to begin to understand the Other. - Tania Hershman, My Mother Was An Upright Piano