Saturday, November 15, 2014
TEHRAN AT TWILIGHT by SALAR ABDOH
Tehran, a city that inspires many emotions in Americans, mostly a mixture of fear and curiosity. It was the latter that made me enter the LibraryThing contest to win a copy of this novel. It is written by a man who was born in Iran and currently splits his time between Tehran and New York City where he teaches creative writing.
His hero is Reza Malek, the year is 2008, and Malek's best friend has just asked him to return to Tehran. Malek is a teacher in NYC who also works in Iran as a translator for media. He and Sina Vafa went to college together in California where their fathers had taken them to escape the violence of Iran. From there the two men took opposite paths as Vafa became radicalized. Now Vafa is in over his head and needs Malek's help.
The story is about the love of friends, and of mothers and sons set against the reality that is Tehran and the streets of New York. Thanks to his friend, Malek is reunited with his mother who had supposedly run away with a lover when he was a boy. Also thanks to Vafa, Malek is caught up in the corrupt and frustrating system that passes for government, all the while in danger and trying to get his mother out of the country.
Friends in NYC and politics at the college where he teaches, illustrate that violence lives there too but life is so much better. Those friends prove to Malek that there is still an American dream to be had.
This is a rare occasion when I feel my words are inadequate to express what depths exist in Salar Abdoh's fiction. I felt as though I were with Malek in Tehran and for that matter in NYC as well. The characters drew me into this exotic story.
Source: LibraryThing win