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Articles tagged "Iranian Literature"

Lamb

Ghulam Ali traded in grains and spices. He carried produce of the very best quality. Not everyone could afford it. Unlike other merchants in Golpayegan who traded on barter, or offered credit, Ghulam Ali never kept a credit ledger in his shop. He bought with cash and sold likewise. He never compromised on that principle. And perhaps that was the reason for his reputation for miserliness. Every morning, before he left the house for work, he would call out to his wife, “Kokab, do...

The First Day

Author's note: I left Iran in 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution, and settled in Paris with my two small children. I was naïve enough to think that the chaotic upheaval of the beginning eventually would settle into normal life, and I could return. The increased hostility of the government toward the intellectuals and the war with Iraq, which lasted eight years, forced me to stay longer that I had imagined. I was educated in America and did not speak French. I had to start...

Encounter

Don't you hear—the door of the next compartment just opened? It has to be a ticket taker. Who else gets the words out like that? Everything so clear and distinct: —Gutten Tag, geben Sie mir bitte! Feverish, tense, you try to calm your rapid breathing. Your glance fixes sideways at the dark, shining window. Only, you can't see the landscapes coursing into the night. You're in an express, an intercity. —Den Fahrschein Bitte! You pat your pockets as if...

Illuminations

A cloudless sky, no breath of wind, I sit beside the courtyard pool. The slow stirrings of the goldfish, the radiance and I, the earth and water--- Life clusters in a fresh washed bunch. My mother is cleaning sweet basil leaves. Bread and white cheese, a cloudless sky, the moist satin of petunia blossoms. Salvation is near, tucked between the leaves of the...

Water

Let's not muddy the water. Imagine that close by a dove is drinking from it, or in a distant grove a finch is washing its wings in it, or in some village it fills a storage jar. Let's not muddy the water. Perhaps this flowing stream runs by the foot of a poplar tree and eases some heart's grief. A dervish, perhaps, has moistened his crust in...

Address

"Where is the friend's house?" asked the horseman just at dawn. The Heavens paused. A wayfarer took the bright branch from his lips, conferred it on the darkness of the sands, pointed with his finger to a poplar tree and said, "Just before that tree there is a garden path greener than God's dreams. In it there is love as wide as the blue wings of true friendship. You go on to the end of the path that takes up...

Love’s Turn

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Nawbat-i asheqi (Love's Turn), a 1990 film by Makhmalbaf, provoked an intense public debate about movie morality, specifically women's control of their own sexuality. Screened at the ninth annual Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, Love's Turn drew a shocked response from many conservative members of the audience who had been among Makhmalbaf's staunchest supporters. Love's Turn was attacked for its presentation of a female character who pursues an...

An Interview with Zara Houshmand

How did you find the pieces you included in the Iran section of Literature from the "Axis of Evil"? Isn't it next to impossible to find out who the great writers are from the countries branded the "axis of evil"? Finding out who the best Iranian writers are is not difficult if you know the language. There is a tremendous amount of literary activity in Iran now as always. The publishing industry is booming and there are many journals that feature new writing. The general public in...

The Neighbor

All of us-myself, my children, and the friends who now and then drop to see us-are scared stiff of our neighbor on the floor below. Our life as expatriates in Paris is full of hidden anxieties and emotions. There is, first of all, a feeling of guilt for having come as strangers from across the border to encroach upon the rights of the native inhabitants. Underneath this guilty feeling lurks a silent, seething rage that must be suppressed, and a nagging sense of humiliation waiting for...

The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons

Mehrabad Airport, Tehran. Air France, flight 726 I hate this life of constant wandering, these eternal comings and goings, these middle of the night flights, dragging along my suitcase, going through Customs and the final torture, the humiliating body search. "Take off your shoes, open your handbag, let's see inside of your pockets, your mouth, your ears, your nostrils, your heart and mind and soul." I am exhausted. I feel homesick—can you believe it? Already homesick. And yet...

On Literature

A writer friend of mine told me that a few weeks ago he had had to exclude the most gifted of his students, a young man from Swabia or Baden or Württemberg - neither he nor I can really tell these regions apart - with the significant name of Stefan Hegel, from the course for young writers he had been invited to give by a foundation with connections to a large corporation, because this Hegel kept on interrupting the readings of the texts under discussion, sometimes raising objections...

Marked by the Moon: An Ancient Tale

Once upon a time, a long time ago-a very, very long time ago-in a corner of the world that was neither faraway nor near, there lived a girl whose name was Moon-Fairy. Moon-Fairy was kindhearted and helpful to everyone, but she carried a huge burden of sadness. She had no family or friends in the whole wide world. She was very lonely. She had been living with Bibi Khanom for as long as she could remember. Bibi Khanom had a daughter by the name of Golabetun, who was pretty but not kind. She...

Our Story

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," Said then the lost Archangel, this the seat That we must change for Heaven? this mournful gloom For the celestial light? Be it so, since He Who now is sovran can dispose and bid What shall be right: farther from Him is best -John Milton, Paradise Lost It seems it was only yesterday, when the ALMIGHTY, unexpectedly, with a celestial kick in the butt, booted the Devil out of the gates of Heaven. The truth is, Eve and I were...

I Pity the Garden

No one thinks of the flowers. No one thinks of the fish. No one wants to believe the garden is dying, that its heart has swollen in the heat of this sun, that its mind drains slowly of its lush memories. Our garden is forlorn. It yawns waiting for rain from a stray cloud and our pond sits empty, callow stars bite the dust from atop tall trees and from the pale home of the fish comes the hack of coughing every night. Our garden is forlorn. Father says: My time is...

Eagles

One stands on the mountains of my country as if on a grave. An abandoned grave; no one knows who lies buried there. During the winter nothing is visible. In spring when the snow has melted, the graves emerge, but they are quickly covered again with wildflowers. It is as if nature were afraid that the graves might be discovered. When mountain climbers come across such a grave they start singing songs against the dictatorship. They approach the grave, singing. They set down their...

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