'Enthralling and moving. It is magical.' Claudia Roden
In the 1940s a third of Baghdad’s population was Jewish. Within a decade nearly all 150,000 had been expelled, killed or had escaped. This graphic memoir of a lost homeland is a wordless narrative by an author homesick for a home she has never visited.
Transported by the power of music to her ancestral home in the old Jewish quarter of Baghdad, the author encounters its ghost-like inhabitants who are revealed as long-gone family members. As she explores the city, journeying through their memories and her imagination, she at first sees successful integration, and cultural and social cohesion. Then the mood turns darker with the fading of this ancient community’s fortunes.
The wolf, believed by Baghdadi Jews to protect from harmful demons, sees that Jewish life in Iraq is over, and returns the author safely back to London.
This beautiful wordless narrative is illuminated by the words and portraits of her family, a brief history of Badhdadi Jews and of the making of this work. Says Isaacs: ‘The Finns have a word, kaukokaipuu, which means a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never been to. I’ve been living in two places all my life; the England I was born in, and the lost world of my Iraqi-Jewish family’s roots.’
Carol Isaacs will be touring The Wolf of Baghdad throughout 2019-2020 including Oxford, Norwich, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, London. Festivals to be confirmed include the Jewish Film Festival and Klezmer in the Park.
An excerpt of the book was longlisted for the 2018 Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition. The Wolf of Baghdad will be published in January 2020.