Portfolio: Peyman Esmaeili [b. 1977]

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 “Search Your Raincoat Pockets” (praiseworthy finalist of Isfahan Literary Award), and a novel titled “The Guard”.

The Guard (2014)

PE-book1The Guard: novel. Second print, Cheshmeh: 2014

Siamak is an engineer who has lost his parents in a car accident and become sterilized himself. He breaks up with his fiancée Roshanak to get a job as the supervisor of gas pipeline transport in the south of Iran. But he cannot get along with the project easily. The aborigines has set up tents around the pipeline and would not let the project develop. During a quarrel, Siamak unintentionally kills the head of the aborigines and flees to cold and mountainous borders of the west to get out of the country through the mountains.

Siamak gets struck in a western snow-covered plain called Pukeh, waiting for the guide who could pass him through the mountainous borders. The guide never comes and Siamak goes astray in a plain where only runaways, Peshmegas and coldsleepers are found. The coldsleepers has trespassed their humane borders and are transformed into a new being, something between men and animals. Pukeh has transformed Siamak as well. His appalling presence intimidates the locales and his hunting abilities are unbelievable.

Siamak meers Sarem and his little son Razan in a stone house and accompanies them to see Edris. Once Razan’s uncle, Edris is now a coldsleeper with wolves. He lives with the wolves and goes hunting with them, but is also after Razan to pacify is human instincts. Edris avoid Siamak and takes refuge in cold snowy mountains among the wolves. A while later Siamak is told that some southerners have come after him to take revenge. They kill Sarem and chase Siamak and Razan to a deserted stone house besieged by wolves where a violent and cruel war undergoes between Siamak, the southerners and the wolves led by Edris. Siamak knowingly gets involved in the fight to gain paternal rights over Razan, a stance that would make for his sterility and accomplish his guardianship, a high rank that his own father Kiumars had failed to achieve.

The novel has intertextual relations with the Iranian epic of Shahnameh. The modern characters of the novel reflect the Shahnameh characters of Kiumars and Siamak, as they fight over their instincts and goals in the foreground of a contemporary story.

Snow and Cloud Symphony (2008)


Snow and Cloud Symphony (2008)

Among Empty Ditches

A young physician is dispatched to serve in a village in Kurdistan of Iran, a snowdrift chilly area whose inhabitants are reluctant to admit strangers. There are two sacred caves in the village that no one is allowed to step in. The locales believe that if anyone steps into the caves, he can never get back and will be lost there for good. The physician, a professional mount-climber, decides to climb up the mountain and enter the caves. He does indeed enter the caves and turns back without any problems. But the young physician senses a change in the environment. At the beginning the locales begin to petrol around his dwelling place, but then the village is less and less crowded until no one seems to be living there. Snow and fog encircle the whole village and the physician notices footprints on snow chasing him everywhere. He confines himself in the dispensary room and do not contact anyone so long as he doubts if he is alive at all.

Animal Disease

A man accompanies the young engineer in hot southern deserts of Iran to take him to the project camps. On their way they see deep pits that were supposed to be the site of High voltage AC transmission towers. Sometimes animals are trapped in them and cannot get out, and the guide speaks of the superstitions of the area such as Animal Disease: if a person tastes some food touched by an animal, he will be affected by the animal’s moods. A while later the guide mentions that once he had been trapped in a pit together with another engineer and they were suffering from thirst and hunger to death until a hyena jumped in and tore the engineer’s throat and satisfied his thirst with his blood. The guide had to drink that blood, too, to survive. The intimidated engineer feels that the guide is approaching him, like a hyena that’s approaching his prey.

Eleven Cases of Suleiman

The story is an account of eleven different cases of the same murder issue. The corpses of a number of mount climbers trapped in Takht-e Suleiman Mountains are found a few days later. Then a man enters the police station claiming that this was not an accident and an old friend has chased them up the mountainous peaks to murder them. Several cases are pursued by the police, one of which deals with the accounts of a survived member. The mount climber has referred to a person who had reached the team and had a conversation with the now-killed climber, who had a hand in the death of the murderer’s sister. When everybody is convinced that the murderer is frozen to death in the mountains, it is revealed that the real murder is someone else who is hidden somewhere.

The Dead

A snowy night at the power station of a remote area, the station’s driver is talking about a person on wires. The boss and one of the technicians start to check what the driver has claimed. They both suspect the accuracy of the driver’s claims and try to find a justification for that. Their vehicle gets struck in the snow-covered road and they have to walk through the forest to the site where wires are cut. Near that location, they see a man on wires crawling towards them, like a hunter after its preys.

A Week of Sound Sleep

A public transportation driver on Tehran-Noor road starts a conversation with a passenger, an alcoholic suffering from an incurable disease. The driver pretends to be a passenger, an ex-passenger in his vehicle, and brags about his interests and hobbies as if they were his own life experiences. It turns out that the passenger is to steal his car as he stabs the driver and does steal it. The stabbed driver hardly reaches the road, feeling just like the person he pretended to be.

A Piece of Prince in the Dark

A man awakens to find himself in a dark and unknown place, having no idea of what has happened. An indistinguishable voice approaches him and reveals to him that he has been entangled here for long. The voice tells him that darkness has transformed him into a snake-like creature. To seek freedom, the man trusts the voice, but the trust brings about a tragic ending.

55 Degrees

The corpse of a woman is found underneath snow by a man in an apocalyptic city. The man takes her to a tower whose stories are mostly hidden under snow. The man discovers her diary and begins to read it. The woman had written her memories of a time when snow had not covered everywhere. She had written of her cancer and her little time to live, of her lover who has travelled to a snowy European city. As he goes on reading, it is revealed that the woman was travelling to a borderline town to find her lover but then she knew that there was no more time left and the town would probably be the last thing she could see in life. He last wish is to be a fish, a fish in warn waters.

As time passes, the man notices a metamorphosis in the woman’s corpse: she grows fins on her sides. The man decides to free himself from that snowy world, pulling the corpse behind him on snow. He takes her to a frozen lake and leaves her in the waters underneath icy surface. The body begins to move as if she had come back to life, and swims in the water.

Search Your Raincoat Pockets (2005)

PE-book3Search Your Raincoat Pockets. Tehran: Qoqnus 2005


During the Iran-Iraq war, a soldier is arrested attempting to run away from a borderline century kiosk. After two years of distance and no news, his fiancée find him and tries to see him for the last time. The soldier and the girl spend some time together in guardhouse and contemplate over their mutual past and the future never to come. The girl informs him of her decision to leave but is willing to be convinced to stay. The soldier never tells her of his attempt to escape for her sake, and how he had been stuck in the midst of barbed wires and left his boot there. The boy has made his last attempt to survive in a war zone and failed. Wire is the story of farewell of the people who can never get together again.

Private Room

A couple get ready to go to bed at midnight as their next-door neighbor is listening to music. The apartment walls are thin and the music disturbs the couple’s privacy. They have a retarded son who is also sleepless and hardly gets back to his room to sleep. The couple are curious about what is taking place next door and the woman eavesdrops; the next-door couple are talking about a trip to a beautiful place in Turkey. As they become interested in the neighbor’s lifestyle and travels, they learn that the neighbor couple have dropped the subject to talk about their hellish life with the presence of a retarded child. Now remorseful of their eavesdropping, the woman leaves her husband alone in the private room to join her retarded child.

The Fly

After many years of separation, three brothers get together having received the same letter each. The letter is about a girl named Mina, their cousin, who has committed suicide. Their aunt is dead and the three brothers are the only heirs. The brothers try to avoid any mention of Mina but gradually all conversations lead to Mina. Mina, having been impregnated by one of the brothers, hangs herself. But it is revealed that each brother has had an affair with her for a while and then dumped her. The brothers didn’t find themselves guilty of any kind but they come to learn about their role in the destruction of Cousin Mina.

Collecting the leaves as they lie on the ground

After a few years of separation from his wife, a man wakes up in the midst of a dream and recalls a picture from his wedding but there is another man, a stranger, in the picture. The man tries to review the wedding day’s events to come up with a better image of the stranger who thinks might be the reason for their divorce. As he moves on, he wonders if his wife has had an affair with the man from the very first day of their matrimonial life. The questions get more complicated and baffles him to desperation.

Shadow of a Soldier

Two runaway men have assassinated a guy and are now rushing along the city’s streets trying not to get arrested. One of them has faith in what he has done but the other one is doubtful, not knowing if the assassination has been the right decision. While running, they have a conversation to clarify things. It is revealed that both the assassinators and the assassinated man had participated in the former Iran-Iraq war and fought for their country. One of them is shot by the police and they have to hide in an old shelter once used to protect the innocent people in times of bombardment. The siege is tighter now and the shelter comes an inescapable prison for them.

Demon Binding on Left Hand

An employee in the archives section of a little office has a bizarre visitor: a 78-year-old woman who seems to have lost her memory. The old woman thinks that the man is a psychologist inclined to help her. She tells him that at this age she has got the feelings of a twenty-year-old nymph and is in love with a young man. She is afraid that her feelings might intimidate the boy and asks the man for help. A while later, the man learns about the old woman’s affection for him and decides to consent to her emotions.

Unofficial Game

A youngster standing over home balcony peeps into neighbor yard where a group of young boys and girls are playing. The boy likes to take part in their game. In the meantime one of the girls’ ring gets lost and they think it might have dropped in the gutter. The boy rushes to the alley to find the ring amongst gutter trash – it’s an abortive endeavor and boy stands alone behind the neighbor’s closed door.

Search Your Raincoat Pockets

In a mental hospital, a man is nursing a patient who has dismembered his wife with secateurs. He tries to reimagine the incident by putting narratives by different people together. Gradually the narrative of the patient merges with the nurse’s verge to murder his wife so far as the nurse identifies himself with the psycho and goes as far as attempting to dismember his own wife.


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