The Wolf of Baghdad: Memoir of a Lost Homeland by Carol Isaacs (the Surreal McCoy) is a hauntingly beautiful graphic memoir that tells the story of Isaacs family in Jewish Baghdad almost without words. The haunting images put Isaacs into her family’s history in a homeland she has never visited. The memoir is deeply moving and invites the reader to come on this journey through time and memory.
The images and the quotes, that are interspersed, are both equally evocative and we can walk along the old city with Isaacs and hear, smell, taste, and see the history of her family and of the Jewish community generally. Though the story is one that ends in displacement, violence, and tragedy, Isaac also give a glimpse of the richness of Jewish life that once existed there.
“That was a night that still rings in my ears because we were sleeping on the roof and you could hear the screams coming from the direction of the Jewish Quarter.” Nessim Hay
In the end matter she includes a timeline of the history of the Jews in Iraq which is quote useful as well as an exposition of the the members of her family and the inspiration for the telling of their story. The context provided here is very useful especially for readers that are unfamiliar with the broader history of the community.
This is beautiful exploration of past and present. It is much more than an intergenerational memoir. It is memory.