No one crosses the river of oblivion: Reading the narrative experience in Kareem Ketafa’s works | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2515-8538
  • E-ISSN: 2515-8546


A review of the works of Iraqi writer Kareem Ketafa identifies a common thematic invocation of fleeing, widely shared across the characters developed in each novel, that situates them all as at the indeterminate liminal line between forgetting past lives and embracing the memories those lives invoke. By centring Ketafa’s Iraqi origins the focus on its role in his literary imagination and ability to invoke the reality of past suffering and intense personal pain in how they shape character. This reading allows for an engagement with the arc of Ketafa’s plots, where actions allow for movement beyond individual flight and a familiarity with the fourth dimension that contributes to shaping one’s life story.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Barthes, R.. ( 1972), Everyday Myths (trans. Q. al-Moqdad.), Damascus:: Ninawa House;.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Blanchot, M.. ( 1980), L’Ecriture du désastre (trans. I. al-Shantof.), Paris:: Gallimard;.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Galeano, E.. ( 1992;), ‘ The story of oblivion. ’, The Book of Embraces (trans. O. Esber.), Belfrage:: Dar al Taliaa al Jadida;, p. 54.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Ketafa, K.. ( 2006), himar wa thelath jimhoriyat (‘a donkey and three republics’), Baghdad:: Dar Al-Jamal;.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Ketafa, K.. ( 2014), hissar al ankeboot (‘siege of the spider’), Ras al Khaimah:: Dar Noon;.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Ketafa, K.. ( 2015), leyali ibn zawal (‘ibn Zawal’s nights’), Baghdad:: The General House of Cultural Affairs;.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Ketafa, K.. ( 2017), q'rabin al-thahira (‘mid-day sacrifices’), Milano:: Almutawassit Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Ketafa, K.. ( 2020), awda ila wadi al khiyool (‘returning to the horses’ valley’), Baghdad:: Dar Sotour;.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Mahfouz, N.. ( 1981), Children of Gebelawi (trans. P. Stewart.), Giza:: Dar Misr for Publishing;.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Ricour, P.. ( 1990), Time and Narrative (trans. S. al-Ghanimi.), Chicago:: Chicago University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Karim, Zuher. ( 2020;), ‘ No one crosses the river of oblivion: Reading the narrative experience in Kareem Ketafa’s works. ’, Journal of Contemporary Iraq & the Arab World, 14:3, pp. 189200,
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error