Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TLC Book Tour Stop: Late For Tea at the Deer Palace by Tamara Chalabi

Title: Late For Tea at the Deer Palace
Author: Tamara Chalabi
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: June 1, 2009
Source: TLC Book Tours

Can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is???

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You are a non-fiction and memoir fan.
  • You like family stories.
  • You like history.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The Chalabis are one of the oldest and most prominent families in Iraq. For centuries they have occupied positions of honour and responsibility, loyally serving first the Ottoman Empire and, later, the national government.

In ‘Late for Tea at the Deer Palace’, Tamara Chalabi explores the dramatic story of her extraordinary family’s history in this beautiful, passionate and troubled land. From the grand opulence of her great-grandfather’s house and the birth of the modern state, through to the elegant Iraq of her grandmother Bibi, who lived the life of a queen in Baghdad, and finally to her own story, that of the ex-pat daughter of a family in exile, Chalabi takes us on an unforgettable and eye-opening journey.

This is the story of a lost homeland, whose turbulent transformations over the twentieth century left gaping wounds at the hearts not only of the family it exiled, but also of the elegant, sophisticated world it once represented. When Tamara visited her once-beautiful ancestral land for the first time in 2003, she found a country she didn’t recognize – and a nation on the brink of a terrifying and uncertain new beginning."

My Two Cents:

I love history but I really don't know too much about the Middle East. Furthermore, I don't know too much about Iraq outside of the wars of the past couple decades. Late for Tea at the Deer Palace gives a picture of the people of Iraq before the time that I'm familiar with. The Chalabi family was one of the most prominent families in Baghdad during the beginning of the 20th century. This family is not the average Iraqi family. They are privileged and some of the family members were in the upper echelons of Iraqi society, a very unique point of view. Eventually the country will become too chaotic for any of the family to hold on. Will they ever be able to return home?

I thought it was so cool to see the changes in the country of Iraq through the eyes of the family. The book covers from before WWI to almost the present day. This time period was a great time of change for the Middle East and especially for Iraq itself. It was so interesting to see the juxtaposition between the changes in the country and the changes in the family.

I do wish that we got to know more about Tamara's journey from hearing all of the family stories, writing down all of the stories and going back to where her family came from. I would have liked to know a lot more about the connections between where she is today and the family stories that she recounts.

At its core, this book is a really good family story perfect for those interested in the crossroads between history and personal stories. 

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, January 31st: BookNAround
Monday, February 6th: Books Like Breathing
Tuesday, February 7th: The Whimsical Cottage
Thursday, February 16th: Broken Teepee
Friday, February 17th: Boarding in My Forties
Monday, February 20th: Library of Clean Reads
Tuesday, February 21st: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, February 22nd: Man of La Book
Thursday, February 23rd: Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorm
Friday, February 24th: Book Club Classics!
Monday, February 27th: Bookstack
Tuesday, February 28th: Luxury Reading


  1. This sounds like one I might enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. I enjoy memoirs like this one, which mixes history and family. Sounds fascinating.

  3. As someone who is intensely interested in my own family history, this type of book really appeals to me.

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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