Fuad al Takarli
فؤاد التكرلي

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The writer's novel "Tree Talk" was our readers' club selection for April 2009. Visit our Readers Club main page Find more information on our April 2009 selection: the book,the author and his work through our Readers Club Archives.fuad tekerli

Fuad al Takarli in Arabic

One of the pioneering writers of his generation, the Iraqi novelist Fuad al-Takarli was renowned as the authentic voice of modern Iraqi society. Informed by a long career within his country’s judiciary, al-Takarli broke with the literary conventions of Arabic fiction in the 1950s and 1960s to develop his own personal style. His journalism and fiction gained attention and accolades as much for his idiosyncratic writing as for his vivid evocations of a rich and articulate culture now teetering on the brink of civil war.

His literary career began in the 1950s with The Green Eyes, a collection of short stories, but it was with the publication of The Long Way Back (published in Arabic in 1980 as al-Rajea al-Baeed; in English in 2001) in the 1970s that he made his name. An ambitious and unusual novel for its time, it depicts, through the eyes of four generations of a Baghdad family, the tumultuous events within Iraq leading up to the overthrow of the republican regime of Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1963 by a group of Baathist civilians and soldiers. The book was particularly audacious in its criticism of the regimes, especially that of Saddam Hussein, that followed the political unrest provoked by Qasim’s assassination. Publication in Iraq was denied after al-Takarli refused the Iraqi censor’s request to remove a leading character who represented the Baath party. Consequently, the novel was published in Beirut, and only in 1980 was it finally brought out in Iraq.

Al-Takarli turned to writing full time after pursuing a highly successful legal career. He graduated in law from Baghdad University in 1949 and worked at the Iraqi Ministry of Justice for 35 years, where he was respected for his honesty. In 1956 he became a judge and went on to head Baghdad’s Court of Appeals before leaving for Paris in 1964 for postgraduate study. He continued in the legal field until 1983 when he decided to concentrate exclusively on writing, leaving for Tunis in 1990 with his second wife.

Within the canon of Iraqi literature, al-Takarli was the natural successor to Abdul Malik Nouri. Nouri, unlike his fellow authors in the 1940s, preferred to examine the role of the individual in society and the impacts of colonialism and class struggle on society rather than deliver the sociorealist fiction in vogue at the time which he and others dismissed as little more than creative reportage by a “katib maqala”, an essay writer. Nouri’s fiction reflected an interest in sociology and psychoanalysis, shared by al-Takarli, as both men also shared a deep admiration for the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Although this sociorealist style prevailed in the 1950s, al-Takarli placed himself beyond its limitations, concentrating on the development of his personal style, doubtless influenced also by his boyhood friend, the poet Abdul Wahab al-Bayati who was hailed by The New York Times as “a major innovator in his art form” in breaking with more than 15 centuries of Arabic poetic convention to write in free verse.

The publication and distribution in Iraq of The Long Way Back in 1980 came at a time when an interest in Arabic literature in translation was just beginning to emerge. Historically, few books by Arabic authors were translated into English, resulting in Western perceptions of Arabic culture and society as being shaped mainly by books written by Westerners, a subject addressed at length by the late Edward Said in Orientalism (1978), and elsewhere. The popularity of writers such as Naguib Mahfouz, Yusuf Idris, Tahar ben Jelloun and Tayeb Salih did not extend much beyond the Arab world until in 1988 Mahfouz became the first Arabic author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This was the catalyst for a small boom in the publication of Arabic fiction in translation, with the field opening up for Mahfouz’s contemporaries, among them al-Takarli. He would later be awarded the United Arab Emirates Sultan bin Ali Owais Cultural Foundation Award for his contribution to modern Arab fiction.

In other works, among them The Other Face, The Sandy Ring and Spit in the Face of Life, al-Takarli continued to explore the social changes brought about under the Baathist regime, and contributed articles to London’s Arabic press, including al-Hayat and al-Sharq al-Awsat.

In 1985 The Long Way Back was translated into French: the English-language edition appeared in September 2001. A Sunni with no particular political affiliation, al-Takarli was concerned about the power struggle between Sunni and Shia factions. Just as violence had given him the subject for the novel that brought about his literary success, so it was the backdrop (albeit at some remove) for his death from pancreatic cancer. “There is no place for me in Baghdad.” He said. “It is not my Baghdad, not my Iraq.” For the past three years he had been living in Amman, Jordan, where he was buried.

Al-Takarli is survived by his second wife and their son, and by three daughters from his first marriage.

Fuad al-Takarli was born in 1927. He died on February 11, 2008, aged 81
Source: The Times 28 February 2008.

فؤاد التكرلي

رواية االكاتب " حديث الأشجار" كانت اختيار شهر ابريل 2009 في نادي القراء
تجد ملفا كاملا عن الكتاب وكاتبه والحوار الذي دار حوله في صفحة كتاب شهر ابريل 2009
أرشيف نادي القراء

التكرلي روائي وقاص ومسرحي له الكثير من الأعمال الأدبية التي بدأ في نشرها منذ الخمسنيات.

ولد التكرلي في بغداد عام 1927، ودرس القانون في كلية الحقوق وتخرج عام 1949، وعمل في البداية كاتبا في إحدى محاكم بعقوبة، ثم محاميا وقاضيا ومستشارا قانونيا، وظل يتنقل بين عدد من الوظائف العامة إلى أن تقاعد.

وقد ظهرت اهتمامات التكرلي الأدبية في وقت مبكر من حياته ربما قبل تخرجه مباشرة في عام 1949 حينما أنهى كتابة روايته الأولى "بصقة في وجه الحياة".

إلا أنه لم يجرؤ، كما صرح فيما بعد، على نشر هذه الرواية لأنه اعتبرها "سابقة لعصرها" وأن جراتها كانت كفيلة بخلق الكثير من المتاعب له ولناشريها. وظلت تلك الرواية حبيسة الأدراج إلى أن نشرها عام 1980 عقب نشر روايته "الرجع البعيد".

أما مجموعته القصصية الأولى "الوجه الآخر" فقد نشرها عام 1960. وكانت قصته القصيرة الأولى قد نشرت في مجلة "الآداب" البيروتية عام 1951 بعنوان "همس مبهم".

وأصدر بعد ذلك عددا من الروايات والمجموعات القصصية والمسرحيات منها "خاتم الرمل" و"موعد النار" و"الصخرة" و"الكف" و"خزين اللامرئيات" المسرات والأوجاع".
أدب اجتماعي

ويتفق الكثير من النقاد على اعتبار أدب التكرلي أدبا اجتماعيا سياسيا يهتم بالإنسان في محيطه السياسي الاجتماعي، ويمنح الاهتمام لسيكولوجيته الاجتماعية، لكنه من زاوية أكثر شمولا، يعد ادبا تاريخيا لقسم من تاريخ العراق المعاصر.

وفي روايته "اللاسؤال واللاجواب" وهي آخر رواياته وقد صدرت عام 2007، يتناول التكرلي سنوات الحصار التي عاشها العراق من عام 1990 إلى 2003.

ويعتبره النقاد أحد أبرز كتاب "جيل الخمسنيات" أو ما يطلقون عليه جيل الريادة الحقيقية في القصة العراقية إلى جانب غائب طعمة فرمان (1927-1990) وعبد الملك نوري (1921-1998) ومهدي عيسى الصقر(1927-2006).

وقد حاول هؤلاء على اختلاف رؤاهم ومشاربهم الفكرية والسياسية تأسيس شكل جديد في النثر العراقي يوازي ما صنعه مجايلوهم في الرسم والنحت والشعر.
حزمة واحدة

عن هذا الجيل تحدث التكرلي ذات مرة فقال إنم يشكلون "حزمة واحدة متكاملة، يتشابهون في التعبير الواقعي عن المجتمع" لكنه يشعر أنه مختلف عنهم فيما يتعلق بالتعبير عن الفرد.

ويمضي موضحا: " نشترك برسم لوحة بانورامية واسعة لمجتمع تلك الفترة، ما أنجزه الخمسينيون في القصة يفوق ما أنجزه زملاؤهم الشعراء والذي كتب عنه الكثير، أما لماذا لم يتم الإهتمام به عربيا؟ فلأن للشعر سطوة أقوى من القصة القصيرة، الشاعر المجد هو الأعلى، بينما يأتي كاتب القصة خلفه بمراحل".

لم يتعرض التكرلي لبطش السلطة في عهد صدام حسين كما تعرض كتاب عراقيون غيره، بل حاول النظام السابق دائما استمالته و"تحييده".

وقد اشتغل طويلا بوظائف عامة في الدولة وعين في مناصب رسمية. وربما يكون هذا الموقف وراء ما تعرض له من انتقادات قبل وفاته بعدة أشهر عندما قبل العمل كمستشار للرئيس العراقي، جلال طالباني، لشؤون الثقافة والأدب.

هذا الموقف دفع بعض نقاد التكرلي إلى مهاجمته واتهامه بـ "التقاعس عن ابداء أي اشارة احتجاج على احتلال العراق" بل وحاولوا ايضا التقليل من شأن موهبته الأدبية.

وقد انتقل التكرلي بعد سقوط نظام صدام عام 2003، إلى سورية ومنها إلى تونس حتى استقر في عمان حتى وفاته.

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