24 Oct

Savushun (aka. Suvashun)

  • Title: Savushun (Suvashun)savushun
  • Author: Simin Daneshvar
  • Series: Contemporary Iranian Fiction
  • Genre: Novel
  • Publisher: Kharazmi
  • Release Date: 1969
  • Noteworthy: The first Iranian novel by a female writer
  • Available in other languages:  Yes
  • [tr. M. R. Ghanoonparvar, Savushun, A Novel About Modern Iran, 1990; and Roxane Zand, A Persian Requiem, 1991]

 

“What’s the use of peace based on deceit? The body of mankind is fragile, but no force in this world can be as strong as the force of human soul when it is determined and sagacious. Not a single star, but a thousand stars will illuminate his mind, aware that he will fear nothing and no one any more. Do not weep, my sister. There will grow a tree in your house, and trees in your city, and trees of trees in your homeland. And the wind will carry every tree’s message to the other tree. And the trees will ask the wind, “On your way here, haven’t you seen the dawn?”

 

About the Book

Set in Shiraz, ‘Savushun’ is an account of a woman’s life with her well-off feudal husband who, unlike his peers, is devoid of avarice, gives a hand to his peasants, and enjoys an illuminated mind and a transparent happy life. They live in a period of nationwide drought when the country is occupied by foreign military forces as they plunder the inhabitants’ possessions. The husband’s resistance and protest on the one hand and the wife’s deference and peacemaking get in line as a structural feature of this family. The husband is murdered during the succession of events and the wife, having lost the structural unity of her family, undergoes a change of attitude towards herself and the society whose actions and reactions are now well-thought and based on her learned wisdom.

Savushun is a superb piece by Simin Daneshvar, master of storytelling, which offers a well-engineered narrative of a woman’s social and personal growth. At the heart of this narrative, Daneshvar presents a scrupulous and systematic observation of her environment and the country as effective factors on her personality. The narrative revolves around the female character, Zari, who is the first person narrator of the story. The diffuse interior monologues also serve complementary to the unity of the text. Daneshvar’s robust symbolism is another element of marvel in the work. The woman’s alternative presence within home and out in society functions as a harmonizing device that leaves no room for unwanted gaps in narration. As the story moves on, every character could be taken as representative and symbol of a particular ideology whose actions are often rooted in that inherent worldview.

Written by Mohammad Ahmadpour

Mohammad is a graduate in sociology from the University of Tehran, a book reviewer and literary critic based in Tehran.

Translated by Parsagon

17 Apr

The Cheese Forest

  • cheese-forestTitle: The Cheese Forest
  • Author: Fereshteh Ahmadi
  • Series: Contemporary Iranian Fiction
  • Genre: Novel
  • Publisher: Qoqnoos
  • Release Date: 2009
  • Language: Persian

To discover the real cause of her father’s death, a girl embarks on a journey back to her hometown where she had been raised. During the journey she retells her memories of the town and its inhabitants, mostly mine workers, and realizes that hometown life has a deep and lasting effect on its inhabitants by turning them into cold, intrinsic, misanthropic or perhaps heartless persons. The next chapters trace the girl’s life in Tehran, who is now a passionate young and energetic figure by appearance, but there is still a bitter coldness in her manners.

Before the journey, the girl visits a dervish to gain mental peace and balance. The journey unlocks the mystery of his father’s job and why he was killed.

The following chapters respectively portray the main character’s life on travel and in Tehran, her mind usually engaged with the question whether she needs to see the dervish again. In the last chapter we find her in train travelling again, while in a former chapter she was portrayed on the same train returning home. In a surreal scene the two trains pass each other on the railway and the girl can see herself sitting in the other train, at the threshold of a new beginning.

17 Feb

Stutter

  • ay-book2-203x300-400x250Title: Stutter
  • Author: Amirhossein Yazdanbod
  • Series: Contemporary Iranian Fiction
  • Genre: Novel
  • Publisher: Ofoq
  • Release Date: 2012

 

Stutter begins with the writer’s confession – that he has not written the story of “Janavar”. It has actually been written by Aidin. Searching for the actual writer, he discovers white papers among the notes ascribed to the real writer, whence he embarks on a journey in search of the identity and concerns of the real writer who had once been a doctor in Tehran but has just passed away, leaving a mysterious testimony behind…

The second chapter traces the life and death of Mehrdad Naseri, Aidin’s son, and his last words with Mani, now an American citizen. As the writer, incapable of digesting the events and their relationship to each other, tries to set free of the discovered notes, a new sign is decoded, calling him to a second journey to Afghanistan, Bagram. By consequence, the writer is invited to a literary conference in Kabul and all the conditions for this mysterious journey are surprisingly met. He travels to Afghanistan, but that is just the beginning of a whirlwind of events opening up to him one after another. Stutter has been the finalist of Bushehr Literary Award and the nominee of Wow Literary Award.