Click on the links below to read the full reviews of The Watermelon Boys:

 

 

"In her debut novel, ‘The Watermelon Boys’ ,Ruqaya Izzidien forces the reader to confront the impact of European intervention in the Middle East, and masterfully so." 

      - The National

"Not only does The Watermelon Boys open with a with a pithy (and rather memorable) epigram—“The present is an arrogant time in which to live”—but it is also Tolstoyan in the number of characters and subplots."

      - Asian Review of Books

"As a reader, be prepared to find yourself gripped to the point where you won't want to read anything else and you will be counting down the time when you can pick the book up again just to have a few more glorious sips."

 

     - The New Arab 

"Beautifully rendered in rich and evocative prose, Carwyn, Ahmad and his rich-in-love-and-humor family and friends come alive in a way that lifts the soul and sears the heart. Highly recommended."

     - Historical Novel Society

"Izzidien’s strength lies in her ability to take a complex history and to turn it into the heartbreakingly emotional stories that are the foundation of said history. Her writing is relatable and profound." 

     - Arab News

"Ruqaya Izzidien offers up an intricate tapestry of Iraq during WWI stitched up from the various points of view of a wide cast of strongly fleshed out characters moving in a space that is so well detailed in its description it actually felt as if were cinematic, playing out on an imaginary reel in this reader's mind."

     - BookFabulous

Ruqaya Izzidien portrays every character, every situation, and each decision crossroads with deft touches of compassion and vulnerability that amplify the intensity in the scenes of cruelty and terror. There are no saints here.

      - Media Diversified/ Writers of Colour

"Izzidien’s writing is at times humorous...but most often it is sensitive and lyrical, her eye for detail enriching descriptive passages."

     - Arab Hyphen

Also read my interviews with:

"This story is set 100 years ago in Baghdad, about a Baghdadi family that is cast apart by war, and it is, importantly, their story. But it is also a British story; this is British history, told through the eyes of an Arab, which was an unusual, and satisfying, subversion to write."

"I was disappointed to find that the overwhelming majority of English-language fiction set in colonial Arab countries either misrepresented or completely excluded Arab voices. Most of these works focus exclusively on Western soldiers during the occupation of Arab nations like Iraq, Egypt and Morocco." 

Watch my video interview with Iraqi channel Irfa3 Sawtak:

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