Saddam Hussein Novella Coming Soon

The Novella Was Completed on the Eve of the 2003 Invasion

This December, if you’re in the UK and decide to do a little holiday shopping at your favorite local bookstore, you may very well come across one particularly shocking author in the new fiction section: Saddam Hussein.

Believe it or not, the former Iraqi dictator and war criminal wrote fiction, often under the pen name “the author.” The last of his known works — a novella alternately translated as Begone, Demons and Get Out, You Damned One — is set to be published in English this December by indie UK press Hesperus, which specializes in translated and out-of-print works. (The press gained notoriety last year for failing to pay royalties to Jonas Jonasson.)

According to The Guardian, Hussein’s novella “focuses on a tribe living by the Euphrates river 1,500 years ago which ousts an invading force.” A spokesperson for Hesperus subsequently described it as “a mix between Game of Thrones and the UK House of Cards-style fiction.”

In the past, Hussein’s work has not been received kindly by critics. In 2005, Hassan M. Fattah, a New York Times correspondent, described his novella as “a forgettable piece of pulp.” A 2011 Guardian review of another one of Hussein’s titles, Zabiba and the King, concluded: “Some critics have suggested that Zabiba and the King was ghostwritten. I doubt that: it is so poorly structured and dull that it has the whiff of dictatorial authenticity.”

The new book will be come out this December in order to “mark the 10th anniversary of [Hussein’s] execution.” So, if you’re looking for the strangest, most chilling stocking stuffer imaginable for that book lover in your life…

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