17 Aug

Peyman Esmaeili’s Favorite Books

Peyman Esmaeili was born in 1977 in Tehran. He studied electronics engineering at Iran University of Science & Technology, meanwhile he was a member of the university’s poetry club and manager of the founding board of Nationwide Students Literary Society. He is a published writer with two short story collections Snow and Cloud Symphony (winner of Mehregan, Golshiri and Press Critics & Awards) and Reach Your Raincoat Pockets (praiseworthy finalist of Isfahan Literary Award), and a novel titled The Guard (2014, 2nd). Siamak, The Guard‘s protagonist, commits murder and is consequently drawn to an incandescent white limbo in the South of Iran where he has to shoulder the weight of guilt and remorse. The magic setting of the novel – ripe with a sense of horror and fear, amalgamated with a narrative in-cold-blood – recently won him the first  “40 Literary Award” (an award annually granted to the under-forty Iranian writers with a future). Here he shares his favorite reads with the Parsagoners:

PARSAGON: What are the top seven works of world literature that have influenced your life and literary career? 

ESMAEILI: I have been influenced by plenty of writers, have delighted their books and sometimes turned back to some pages in their stories for revelation. Among them I can mention the following books and writers:

  1. Heinrich Böll’s The Clown
  2. J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and short stories
  3. Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and The Road 
  4. Stanisław Lem’a Solaris 
  5. Houshang Golshiri’s short story collection Dark Hand, Bright Hand as well as the novel Prince Ehtejab
  6. Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night and Shoughterhouse-Five
  7. James Graham Ballard’s Crash and Empire of the Sun as well as short story collections


PARSAGON: Which seven successful Persian literary works would you recommend for translation into other languages?

ESMAEILI: Among Iranian stories I would like to mention the following, each of which has been inscribed in my mind as a pretty pattern in the art of story writing, and whose translation into other languages could help share their beauty with other people and cultures. I am trying to mostly focus on the new generation of Iranian story writers as their books provide an introduction to contemporary Iranian fiction:

  1. Scorpion on Andimeshk Railway Stairs and The Concert of Forbidden Tars by Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar
  2. Fifty Degrees Above Zero and Roving Under Haloxylon Tress by Ali Changizi
  3. Laughter in the House of Solitude by Bahram Moradi
  4. Partridge Hunting by Reza Zangi-Abadi
  5. The Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali
  6. Hush and Fault Time by Mohammadreza Kateb
  7. Like A Scent in Breeze by Razieh Ansari

    photo: Hamid Janipour | Graph Studio






07 Nov

Scorpion on Andimeshk Railway Stairs

  • 118065-400x250Title: Scorpion on Andimeshk Railway Stairs, or This Train is Bleeding, Sir!
  • Series: Contemporary Iranian Fiction
  • Author: Hossein Mortezai’ean Abkenar
  • Genre: Novel – War Literature
  • Publisher: Nashr-e Ney
  • Release Date: 2006


Book Browse

A peerless war (anti-war) novel, Scorpion on Andimeshk Train Stairs offers a real life-like account of Iranian troops’ encounter with the Iraqi army in the south of Iran, chemical bombardments and the unrepresentable darker side of defeat, suffering and sorrow of the people and soldiers. Yet the novel is anything but a realistic war novel. Based on exaggeration and Keitch, form in this novel supersedes content. It also distances from the dominant Holy Defense discourse of the imposed war and intentionally avoids tragic or epic tones. It is recently translated to French.

07 Jun

Mehdi Navid Recommends

Born in 1981 in Kermanshah and brought up in Tehran, Mehdi Navid is a writer, translator and editor best known for his translations of Beckett and Brautigan. Determined to embarked on a literary career at an early age, “I attended Houshang Golshiri’s literary criticism and book review courses at the newly-founded Karnameh Magazine,” says Navid; “I was sixteen or seventeen and there I decided that literature would be my only profession.” He has been working as editor and book evaluator of the well-known Iranian publishing house, Nashr-e Ney.  His debut translation, Edward Albee’s Sandbox was published in Karnameh in 2000 and since then he has had many more pieces of his poetry and translations published in various magazines and periodicals. His debut novel, The Book of Sounds, was released rather independently in 2012 in Persian and English. In 2004, a selection of his poems appeared in volume 11 of Other Voices Poetry. At the moment, Navid is busy editing a series of critical articles on eminent contemporary Iranian writers, the first of which is the upcoming volume Bahram Sadeqi; a good occasion to inquire about his favorite and recommended works of contemporary literature.


PARSAGON: What are the top seven works of world literature that have had the deepest influence on your life and career?

  1. The Trilogy of Samuel Beckett
  2. Sunstone by Octavio Paz
  3. Sixty Stories & Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme
  4. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  5. The Complete Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
  6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  7. In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa

PARSAGON:  What are the top seven Iranian works  that deserve global attention or have been neglected by world readers and translators?


  1. Fear and Trembling, by Gholamhossein Sa’edi
  2. Five Treasures, by Houshang Golshiri
  3. Scorpion on Andimeshk Railway Stairs, or This Train is Bleeding, Sir! by Hossein Morteza’eian Abkenar
  4. Ismail by Reza Baraheni
  5. Funeral Prayer by Reza Daneshvar
  6. Scattered poems, especially of Bijan Elahi
  7. The Tide and The Fog by Ebrahim Golestan