Summary

"Two people, one city, different times; connected by a memoir. Can love exist in a city destined for decades of misery?" 
Adnan leads a weary existence as a bookshop owner in modern-day, war-torn Baghdad, where bombings, corruption, and assault are everyday occurrences and the struggle to survive has suffocated the joy out of life for most. But when he begins to clean out his bookshop of 40 years to leave his city in search of somewhere safer, he comes across the story of Ali, the Gardener of Baghdad. Adnan rediscovers through a memoir handwritten by the gardener decades ago that beauty, love, and hope can still exist, even in the darkest corners of the world.
©2014 Ahmad Ardalan (P)2017 Ahmad Ardalan
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Hedges on 04-02-18

What a wonderful book!

Would you listen to The Gardener of Baghdad again? Why?

This is a book I would listen to again.

What about Randal Schaffer’s performance did you like?

The narrator was great.

Any additional comments?

This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was beautifully written and the characters were very likable. What I loved most about it was the description of Baghdad, the author has a beautiful way of taking the listener through his writing to the wonderful city and bringing it alive in our imagination. I would highly recommend this book and will definitely be looking for other books by this author.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By DubaiReader on 15-03-18

Baghdad, city of romance.

This book was an interesting balance between the violent Baghdad of today and the genteel place of luxury gardens that it once was.

Current day Adnan struggles to run his bookshop amongst bombings, terror and intermittent electricity. His wife is desperate to leave the city, but Adnan is attached to the shop, which he inherited from his father. Although he has reluctantly agreed to leave, he is still nostalgically pottering around, when he comes across an old handwritten memoir hidden on shelves right at the back.
It immediately grabs his attention and he spends several nights ensconced in the shop, reading by candlelight.

The manuscript details the story of Ali, a young farmer who branches out into gardening and makes quite a name for himself in 50's Baghdad. Unfortunately he falls in love with a young lady whom he is prohibited from marrying. When the narrative of the sad love story comes to a sudden end, Adnan uses his contacts to try and find out what happened - and he takes us with him; we too are longing to know how the story ends.

This book has a beautiful cover, which appealed to me immediately. There is some fairly floral language, but this is not inappropriate when reading a book set in the Middle East. The story is told in an interesting way, using Adnan's bookshop and later his contacts. It is also well read in the audiobook version, by Randal Schaffer.

Ahmad Ardalan has other books set in Iraq and I am hoping that it won't be too long before these are also available as audiobooks.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By pixledust on 26-12-17

A charming cross-cultural love story.

This is a story within a story. Adnan, the book shop owner, discovers an old handwritten memoir hidden in a book in a corner of his shop. He begins to read the memoir and becomes engrossed in the depictions of the real people. He ignores his family and his business while finishing the memoir. He is then obsessed with finding out what happened to the people described. He tracks down family members of Ali in order to hear the rest of the story. Reaching the conclusion of this real-life saga helps Adnan decide whether to leave Baghdad with his family.

This story is told in a fresh, simple style. It takes the reader into 1950's Baghdad and Iraq. The story is engrossing. It is the story of young love between an English woman and an Iraqi gardener. Some elements of the story strain credulity--the fact that Adnan's wife is okay with him reading a book for 3 days, no real reason for the young woman to like Ali in the first place, and the flawlessness of both main characters. Some of these things can possibly be explained by culture or that the main characters are newly in love. For the most part, the story is charming. The love story causes the reader to remember what it is like to be a young person in love. The characters are likable and the narrator does a good job. This story is very clean. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ginny Aybar-Flores on 28-12-17

Wonderful story!


It was during a long day at work and thinking of selling his bookstore, Adrian comes upon a book that he did not recall seeing there before. Taking the book in hand, he realizes that is tye memoir of a young man who fell in love with an English woman. Adian is captivated and reads the entire memoir of the young man who wrote it more than 40 years ago.
The Gardener of Baghdad is a beautiful and heartwarming story of two young people of different race and religion who fell in love and their struggles to be together. This story does not only captivates you with its characters but gives you an insight of how it was ub Iraq.
This is a great story, one to read or listen to, whichever you prefer.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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