Cite: Elimelekh,Search for Identity in the Works of Samīr Naqqāsh

Elimelekh, Geula. “The Search for Identity in the Works of Samīr Naqqāsh.” Middle Eastern Studies 49.1 (2013): 63-75.





Samir Naqqash (1938-2004) was born in Baghdad and migrated to Israel in 1951. This article describes his divided soul, his attempts to adapt to a new homeland and his inability to develop a sense of belonging to Israeli society. The study is based on two short stories, ‘Willow Night’, which describes the collapse of an old world and the loss of Jewish values, and ‘Tantal’, a story of childhood. A major theme in Naqqash’s writings is the search for identity, a direct result of the author’s inability to detach himself from his previous identity as an Iraqi Jew. This theme is intimately connected to one of the most important motifs in his stories, rootlessness. The author feels torn from a previous perfect world, now lost – a world which he now adores and remembers with sentimental yearning. In his stories he depicts a number of characters whose emigration to Israel induced a profound shock in them, which eventually led to their mental and physical downfall.