Short story writer and literary critic, Amirhosein Yazdanbod was born in 1977 in Tehran and studied physics and philosophy, two fields of science that have inspired his literary concerns. He started story writing at age 21 by attending Hozeh Honari weekly sessions. But it took him a decade to become wholeheartedly devoted to writing as a career and lifelong ambition. As a turn-of-the-millennium writer, Amirhosein owes much of his writing skills to blogging in a personal blog named Marbles Man. His books include the short story collection Portrait of An Incomplete Man (published in 2009 by Cheshmeh, which brought him a number of literary awards such as Gam-e-Aval Awards, Houshang Golshiri and Zamaneh Golden Pen) and STATTER (Lok-nat), a historical-political novel themed on Azerbaijan Rebels of the 1900s. You can find his Persian blog here.
PARSAGON What are the top seven works of world literature that have had the deepest influence on your life and career?
YAZDANBOD My favorite books are:
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bugakov
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
- The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
- Dubliners by James Joyce
- The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Of course two of them (The Crying of Lot 49 and Ulysses) are not yet published in Persian.
PARSAGON What seven works of Contemporary Persian Literature would you recommend for translation to other languages?
YAZDANBOD As for significant Iranian novels, I’d recommend
- The Night of Fright by Hormoz Shahdadi
- Neighbors by Ahmad Mahmoud
- Azadeh Khanom and Her Writer by Reza Baraheni
- Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
- The City That Died Beneath Cedar Trees by Khosrow Hamzavi
- Latent Pattern by Mohammad Mohammadali.
- Homelandless by Reza Amirkhani
The Night of Fright, Hormoz Shahdadi’s masterpiece was published only once in 1979 and was almost lost and unnoticed during the tumults of the Revolution years and its aftermath. It account a single-night’s road travel in a car with Ismail taking his sick father from Isfahan to a hospital in Tehran. Stream-of-Consciousness constantly interrupting Ismail’s dialogues with the driver, narrative ruptures in time and iterative shifts between third-person narration to internal monologues have all made this novel a parable of Postmodernist Persian fiction.
Missing Soluch, another 1979 novel in Yazdanbod’s recommended list is already translated to English by Kamran Rastegar that was shortlisted for the 2008 Best Translated Book Award. Dowlatabadi wrote it in just 70 days after he was released from prison, having composed in memory while in jail. It is known as the first Iranian novel written in the everyday language of the people and as hugely influential at the time of Revolutionary Iran for its sympathetic depiction of the proletariat.
Azadeh Khanom and Her Writer, or the Private Aushwiz of Dr Sharifi is the title of another Postmodernist novel by Reza Baraheni that was published in 2002 by Caravan. It accounts Dr Majid Sharifi’s struggles to write a novel about his pretty protagonist Azadeh, a woman with multiplied faces and identities that oscillate between the oriental archetypes of woman to their contemporary functions. The writer is both fascinated with and avoids her as she steps into his real life and breaks borders of faction and fiction.
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