WINNER OF THE JAN MICHALSKI PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE HAUS DER KULTUREN’S INTERNATIONAL LITERARY AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY AWARD
‘Examine[s] the complexities and moral ambiguities of the experience of the poor and forgotten, mixing the brutality of that world with the lyricism of the Persian language.’
The New York Times
‘Dowlatabadi draws a detailed, realist picture of Iranian life, especially that of the rural poor, in language that is complex and lyrical, rather than simplistic.’
‘It’s about time everyone even remotely interested in Iran read this novel.’
‘An affecting and beautiful novel.’
The Literary Review
‘[an] important novel’
On a pitch black, rainy night in a small Iranian town, the colonel paces back and forth inside his house waiting for the inevitable – the knock on the door from the secret police. From there he will be taken to the tortured body of his youngest daughter.
The Islamic Revolution, like so many revolutions before it, is devouring its own children. The colonel must bury his daughter before sunrise, alone, without ceremony. So who is to blame? What follows is a shocking diatribe against the failures of the Iranian Left over the last sixty years.
Confrontational, angry, sad and lyrical, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi leaves no taboo unbroken as he asks three generations who have suffered under oppressive and brutal regimes, how has it come to this?
MAHMOUD DOWLATABADI is one of the Middle East’s most important writers. Born in 1940 in a remote farming region of Iran, the son of a shoemaker, he spent his early life and teens as an agricultural day labourer until he made his way to Tehran, where he began writing plays, stories and novels. Dowlatabadi pioneered the use of the everyday language of the Iranian people as suitable for high literary art. His books include Missing Soluch, his first work to be translated into English, and a ten-book portrait of Iranian village life, Kelidar. In 1974, Dowlatabadi was arrested by the Savak, the Shah’s secret police. When he asked what crime he’d committed, he was told, ‘None, but everyone we arrest seems to have copies of your novels, so that makes you provocative to revolutionaries.’ He was in prison for two years. Dowlatabadi’s Thirst was published by Haus in 2014.
Also by this author, Thirst.
TOM PATTERDALE read Persian at university and worked in Iran for a number of years.