God 99

Hassan Owl is an Iraqi refugee struggling to establish himself as a writer, both in his newly adopted Finland and back home. On receiving a grant to develop a website for his otherwise unpublished work, he instead decides to embark on a series of interviews that will capture the real stories behind Europe’s so called ‘refugee crisis’.

Over the next few years, Owl travels across the continent interviewing 99 individuals whose lives have been ‘disrupted’ by war, persecution and poverty: from the doctor who abandons her post in a besieged Syrian hospital to become a DJ in Berlin, to the Afghan teenager, who forgets his family waiting desperately for his financial support back home, and falls prey to the poison of radicalisation. In between these stories, Owl’s own story emerges, a through-line of intrigue and influence, driven by his relationship with a mysterious translator he has never met.

God 99 is the highly anticipated debut novel by acclaimed Iraqi writer, poet and filmmaker Hassan Blasim, blending the fantastic with the everyday to explore themes of exile, humanity, art and philosophy.



One of The Guardian's Biggest books of autumn 2020.

Read an interview with Hassan Blasim about God 99 in The Guardian, part of their feature on 'Europe's most exciting authors'.

Praise for Hassan Blasim:

‘Bitter, furious and unforgettable... Blasim’s stories struck me as so different from anything else I had read, not only from that part of the world but from anywhere else.’ – The Wall Street Journal

‘At his best, Blasim produces a corrosive mixture of broken lyricism, bitter irony and hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic and the quotidian in the same reading moment.’ – M. John Harrison

‘Blasim pitches everyday horror into something almost gothic... his taste for the surreal can be Gogol-like.’ – The Independent

‘Perhaps the greatest writer of Arabic fiction alive...’ – The Guardian

'Certainly one of the most innovative to emerge on the literary scene in the last decade...' - RTE

'Blasim's vivid prose reflects the way the fantastic and the ordinary collapse into a Kafkaesque jumble during urban conflict.' - The Financial Times (£)

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Book Details

12 Nov 2020

About the Author

Hassan Blasim

WINNER of the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
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More by Hassan Blasim

The Iraqi Christ

From legends of the desert to horrors of the forest, Blasim’s stories blend the fantastic with the everyday, the surreal with the all-too-real.

The Madman of Freedom Square

Blasim’s stories present an uncompromising view of the West's relationship with Iraq, spanning over twenty years and taking in everything from the Iran-Iraq War through to the Occupation...