Here are six stories by one of Iran's greatest contemporary writers, rare and intimate glimpses into the lives of ordinary Iranian men and women; windows into the Persian soul. From the delicately painted tragedy of Mehrangiz in A City Like Paradise to the wry comedy of Anis, from two sisters' surreal nocturne in Childbirth to a village boy's broken dreams in Potshards, from a young woman torn between duty and passion in Bibi Shahrbanu to the brilliant and numinous Sutra, each story is told with the detail, clarity of vision, and deeply human compassion characteristic of Daneshvar's finest work.
Daneshvar's Iran is a landscape in which the medieval and the modern coexist uneasily. Against this backdrop, the author explores the persistent themes of her nearly five decades as a writer: themes of sexual and racial identity, the social relations of wealth and poverty, the workings of memory and dreams. The lives of her characters-here, some of her most subtly realized-are determined by conditions and norms over which they have little or no control; still, in the end, Sutra offers a vision of hope. These stories are a major addition to Daneshvar's works in translation, Daneshvar's Playhouse and Savushun.
"A veritable tour de force fusion of actuality, fantasy, and mystical transport. . . . Reveals Daneshvar at her most gifted, as an innovative writer of the highest order in the long history of Persian literature."
- - Int'l Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
"These six vibrant stories chronicle the vicissitudes of life-its horror, unfairness, humor and fleeting beauty. . . . Daneshvar portrays a world full of injustices and cruel surprises redeemed by hope and acts of kindness."
- - Publishers Weekly
"Six stories probe the lives of individuals who reflect their changing culture. From tongue-in-cheek comedy and social reflection to delicate visions of women's hidden lives, this is packed with involving individuals and moving moments."
- - Bookwatch
"The stories take us into the innermost thoughts of characters often tragically caught between harsh realities with which they must contend and pleasant dreams they have little hope of seeing realized."
- - World Literature Today
These six vibrant stories by Iranian novelist Daneshvar (Savushun) chronicle the vicissitudes of life­p;its horror, unfairness, humor and fleeting beauty. There is the domestic tragedy of "A City Like Paradise," which tells of a black servant cudgeled and thrown out by her employer, who is jealous of her bonds with household members; the tart comedy of "Anis," about a woman who, as she shuttles from one husband to the next, swings from subservience to fervid religiosity to urbane sophistication; the social commentary of "Potshards," describing a patronizing, elderly white women's impromptu attempt to adopt a village orphan. Born in 1921, Daneshvar portrays a world full of injustices and cruel surprises redeemed by hope and acts of kindness, such as a midwife's clandestine visit to save the life of an ungrateful pregnant woman ("Childbirth"). In the exuberant, virtuoso title story, a sea captain born in Madras, shipwrecked off Africa, recalls his smuggling exploits, his life in the Persian Gulf and the wife and daughter he forced into prostitution and then abandoned; half-delirious, he undergoes an exorcism to free himself of possession by a mermaid and then dictates his vision of a world free from tyranny and sorrow.
- -Publishers Weekly (September 19, 1994)
There are few translations into English of Iranian Simin Daneshvar, a writer for nearly five decades. Her Sutra & Other Stories allows the reader to peer into the extraordinary lives of ordinary people living in Iran. Each of the six tales has a folkloric tone, but their strength lies in presenting the woman's point of view, the infrastructure of interpersonal bonds that still operates in the face of rapid change. Neither preachy, nor judgmental, the stories often contain a universal message. In "Potshards," an impoverished boy chooses to remain with his invalid brother rather than move to Tehran to be adopted by a wealthy woman. "Childbirth" reveals the negative influences of poverty and the military as well as the positive side of duty and the sacredness of new life. Difficult circumstances bring people into contact with purpose, wisdom, and the ever-present veil.
- -Library Journal (May 15, 1995)
Mage Publishers must be lauded for its decision to make more of Simin Daneshvar's works available to the Englishspeaking world. Sutra follows the publication of Daneshvar's Playhouse in 1989 (see WLT 64:4, p. 690) and Savushun in 1990. The absence of an introduction or a glossary of terms in the most recent volume of Daneshvar's short stories signals the safe assumption on the part of the publishers that the marketplace or audience to which Sutra is targeted no longer needs to be helped with untranslated and untranslatable terms. Those who read Daneshvar in English, it would seem, have gained enough familiarity with the social and cultural setting of her works to proceed directly to the stories. Perhaps this decision on the part of the publishers could have been more emphatically conveyed to the translators, who, out of habit, have retained some italicized and untranslated Persian words one would normally expect to look up in a glossary of terms.
The decision to do without the usual introduction and glossary is a refreshing turn away from a preoccupation with the linguistic and cultural overtones of the original text. The reader can enter the fictional world with fewer impediments. If we can read Flaubert's Madame Bovary without a glossary indicating exactly what kind of French bread Charles and Emma had in the famous dinner scene that has been so often cited and analyzed, then we should also be able to read a Persian writer's work without worrying that characters in a story are eating lavash bread. Readers who do not know what lavash looks and tastes like will in any event not learn anything from the allusion and will no doubt be distracted by it. This particular obsession with cultural specificity stands out in a translation that otherwise reads so well, since the translators' remarkable use of idiomatic English and felicitous turns of phrase makes one eager for an even smoother translation. It is their success in conveying the mood and tone of the six stories in this collection that prompts the reader to want to be even more deeply steeped in a seamless fictional world.
The stories themselves take us into the innermost thoughts of characters often tragically caught between harsh realities with which they must contend and pleasant dreams they have little hope of seeing realized. Now and then we glimpse traces of Daneshvar's persistent social critique and personal hopes for the future. One of the final passages of "Sutra," for instance, reads like a political manifesto: "A day will come when certainties will freely translate into action. Tyrants will be withheld from tyranny . . . . Such a world will come." When seen in the context of the adverse world in which Daneshvar situates her fictional creations, the simplicity and sincerity of such utterances become fully comprehensible. It is this very simplicity that attracts readers, be they inside or outside her own cultural milieu.
- -World Literature Today (Winter 1995)
Here are six stories by one commonly regarded as the preeminent Iranian woman writer of recent decades. She is unusual in not speaking for a "cause," or from dissidence or exile, dreaming of (or mocking) an Iran that was, or never was, or might yet be; rather she speaks in a sort of organic oneness with her own people's ongoing life process as it unfolds in only glancing contact with the worlds of politics, economics, and social and technological change. At least one of the six stories ("A City Like Paradise") has been rendered into English once before, but a second version can always prove useful and even satisfying in its own right.
The tales vary in length from seventeen to forty-seven pages, differing also in theme and setting and treatment. What closely unites them is a pervading atmosphere of "magic realism" and an enigmatic obliqueness of vision. None of them is in the least realistic or naturalistic in the traditional senses of those terms; none of them offers anything like a straightforward narrative of events; none of them confronts its matter (or the reader) face-on; and none imposes authorial comment, much less moralizing. Matthew Arnold's prescriptive formulas of sweetness, light, steadiness and wholeness, and the rest have absolutely no application here. If the first ("Potshards") and the fourth ("Childbirth") stories are those most firmly grounded in recognizable everyday worlds, the last and eponymous one ("Sutra") presents a veritable tour de force fusion of actuality, fantasy, and mystical transport. Significantly, its title is not Islamic or even Persian, but a Sanskrit term, and one carrying overtones of both Hinduism and Buddhism that well accord with the ecstatic and widely ecumenical utterance at the end (pp. 187-88).
This much said, it is clearly to little purpose to "summarize" each story, but their settings deserve to be briefly indicated. "Potshards" is based on a village boy's encounter with Western archeologists. It is the lightest of the six, treating ironically the widely disparate appraisals and expectations of the two parties. (This is indeed a very Persian story, difficult to conceive in a milieu like Egypt, with that country's long, intimate, and sophisticated interaction with Western archeologists.) "A City Like Paradise" turns on the tragic, gallant life and death of a black female servant, virtually a slave, within an ordinary Persian family circle. Again, "Anis" arises out of a (much looser) mistress-servant relationship, but presents some unexpected twists and turns and reverses of social comedy. "Childbirth" confronts a woman possessing modern midwifery skills and a high sense of duty (she may actually be a nurse, but performs more or less as a doctor) with superstitious, inhospitable, resentful, and greedy villagers, living on the very outskirts of Shiraz. "Bibi Shahrbanu," with a family taking part in a mass pilgrimage to a famous shrine, offers devastating, if empathetic, insights into the rituals and hopes and fears surrounding marriage and fertility among simple and even would-be sophisticated people. Here, fantasy and irony are again much in evidence. "Sutra" itself is notionally related by the luckless and somewhat low-principled owner of a small trading craft, currently in prison but normally plying the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, who dallies (in dream or reality?) with both his own boatboy and a mermaid. The climax, as suggested earlier, reveals Daneshvar at her most gifted, as an innovative writer of the highest order in the long history of Persian literature.
All of these stories, in their more mundane aspects, unfold in a commonplace setting of casual, random cruelty (psychological as well as physical) interspersed with kindness and sentimentality; and in several cases the opposed manifestations proceed from the same individual. It is never made clear whether this represents a particular cultural phenomenon or is to be taken as part of the general human condition. In any case, the abrupt transitions and interchanges always demand careful reflection on the part of the reader who aspires to grasp the "inwardness" of a remark or an action. Many passages are (appropriately enough) gloomy, even grim, quite at variance with the impression given by the notice on the dust jacket of a prevailing atmosphere of gentleness, innocence, wonder and hope.
All this being so, and given the other characteristics of Daneshvar's writing referred to earlier, it is unfortunate that the translation tends to enhance the general, purposive opaqueness by its own total lack of comment or even the most unobtrusive interpretation. This is in no way to suggest that the text should be "improved" in translation or burdened with inappropriate annotation. However, although those familiar with Iranian social norms and speech modes will usually realize what is going forward, for others the enigmatic attraction of the tales themselves might well be overlaid with further mysteries that are at once gratuitous and disconcerting.
In like vein, although an index and a bibliography obviously have no place in a book of this genre, a modest aid-list would make for easier reading. Some common personal names and designations (even within the same story) are identical or similar, or referred to in various ways. ("Aqa" is a general source of confusion, for example.)
The translation as such is nearly always smooth and elegant, with only occasional infelicities or faults of "register." For instance, the waiter in a humble village chaikhana is oddly described as a "busboy"; the archeologist intruders in the village are repeatedly referred to as "travelers" (presumably a literalism from the source language), when something like "migrants/birds of passage/wayfarers/visitors/transients" might be more appropriate and less confusing in English; and a European woman's unattractive complexion is said to be "tawny," when what is surely meant is not "like a lion's skin" but "swarthy." The title "Potshards" should read "Potsherds," irrespective of pronunciation: "-a-" is found only in the word "shards" itself. Finally, in this select list, to characterize the ta'ziya as "religious opera" is at best clumsy and misleading and at worst liable to give more offense than the older term "passion play," sometimes deprecated for its Christian overtones. The technical production of the book is immaculate, as one has come to expect with Mage Publishers.
- -International Journal of Middle East Studies (Vol 27, #4)
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Among contemporary writers of Iran, the majority of whom are men, one woman stands out: Simin Daneshvar. Her work has developed and matured since the late 1940s, and today she is known as one of Iran's best fiction writers. Her masterpiece novel Savushun (Mourning for Siavash), published in 1969, is considered the climax of Persian novel writing. Daneshvar, like most contemporary Iranian writers, came from a middle-class family. Born in 1921 in Shiraz, she was educated in a missionary school and became fluent in English. She began her writing career as early as 1935, when she was still an eighth-grader. Her first article, "Winter Is Not Unlike Our Life," was published in a local Shiraz newspaper. She entered Tehran University and majored in Persian literature.
When her father, a physician, died in 1941, Daneshvar was forced to find a job, as the family's only source of income had been her father's salary. She was employed at Radio Tehran, where she wrote a series of programs entitled "The Unknown Shirazi,'' for which she received scant pay. In acute need of money, she even wrote articles on cooking. Eventually, her fluency in English enabled her to become assistant director of foreign news. But she soon became dissatisfied with the routine nature of this job and left Radio Tehran for a newspaper called Iran, for which she wrote articles and did translations. The relaxed social and political environment of the forties, marked by some degree of democracy and freedom of speech, prompted Daneshvar to choose journalism as a potential career. During her year at Iran (1941-1945), she decided to try her hand at fiction writing. Later, without prior knowledge of story-writing technique, she wrote Atash-e Khamoush (The Quenched Fire) in 1948, at the age of twenty-seven. Although seven out of sixteen stories are O. Henry inspired, and Daneshvar had the book published in first draft form, the major elements of her style are evident. Daneshvar had become familiar with O. Henry as a student, and like him she deals with the basic issues of life, death, love and self sacrifice.
Typical of writers of the 1940s, Daneshvar dwells on issues within Iranian society. She juxtaposes the opposing values of right and wrong--such as poverty versus wealth, or the carefree life of the rich versus the sorrow of the poor--and for moral reasons condemns one while praising the other. Daneshvar's characters in The Quenched Fire are generic types like "professor," "mother," or "daughter," characters without time, place or class who hardly possess a personality. Her lifelong concern with women and their place in society is apparent in her narrative as early as The Quenched Fire. However, at this early stage, Daneshvar does not analyze the socio-economic dependence of women; rather, she is concerned with the general position of women in society. Technically, Daneshvar's major preoccupation at this time was her conscious distinction between the "I" of the author and the "I" of a character. Dual narration in some of her stories made them technically weak. The Quenched Fire, however, was well received, despite its shortcomings--perhaps because it was the first collection of short stories published by an Iranian woman. Later, Daneshvar refused to have the book reprinted, stating that she would never again turn in a first draft to a publisher. The year following the publication of The Quenched Fire, Daneshvar received her Ph.D. in Persian literature from Tehran University.
Subsequently, she became acquainted with Jalal Al-e Ahmad, the famous contemporary writer and social critic, during a trip from Isfahan to Tehran. They were married in 1950. Two years later, Daneshvar received a Fulbright scholarship and left for Stanford University for two years. During this time, she published two short stories in English in The Pacific Spectator. Upon her return to Iran, she joined Tehran University as an associate professor of art history, a post she held for twenty years. Daneshvar was never granted a professorship--not for the lack of credentials, but due to the influence of SAVAK, the secret police, as she would learn later from the president of the university. She had always been an outspoken and articulate lecturer who believed that her primary responsibility was to her students. Precisely for this reason, she would have many confrontations with the SAVAK throughout her years at the University. Daneshvar published her second collection of short stories, Shahri Chon Behesht (A City as Paradise), in 1961.
Meanwhile, her translations of Chekhov, Shaw, Hawthorne, Schnitzler and Saroyan had become a valuable addition to the collection of foreign works available in Persian. In A City as Paradise, Daneshvar's prose style had matured considerably, coming closer to the language of the people, no longer as formal as it had been in The Quenched Fire. Instead she had developed a short, clear and concise sen- tence structure. It was from this time onward that she tried to bring her writing closer to cinematographic realism. Her earlier preoccupation with the presence of the "I" of the author is, however, still present in some of the stories in this volume. It is only in The Playhouse, the last story, that she finally succeeded in freeing her prose of this distracting element. Her other preoccupation, which began at this stage, is with the concept of time. Similar to Al-e Ahmad and Sa'edi, she felt the need to remind her readers constantly of the passage of time in the form of days, weeks, months or seasons. In The Accident, the length of the argument between the husband and wife over the purchase of the car is made clear by: "It took three weeks for me to surrender," or "In three months and eleven days my wife . . ." Daneshvar asserted her devotion to recording women's conditions in Iranian society in A City as Paradise. Here she no longer dwells on the general characteristics of women; rather, she assumes a neutral position and avoids passing judgement on them; she merely portrays the women and their lives as she saw them. Her characters are able to speak for themselves and demonstrate where their major strengths and weaknesses lie. She is also quite successful in creating the real, as well as the imaginary, worlds of her characters. In Bibi Shahr Banu, Daneshvar cleverly depicts the actual lives of her characters, juxtaposed against the lives they wished they could have had.
In The Playhouse, her handling of Siah's character and his secret love for the girl is subtle, yet far-reaching. In her portrayal of the girl as a victim of society and of her own ignorance, Daneshvar surpasses all of her prior stories. At the time A City as Paradise was published, Daneshvar was still under the shadow of her husband, Al-e Ahmad, who was an imposing figure in Tehran's literary circles. Al-e Ahmad had begun writing in 1945 and by 1961 had published seven novels and short story collections, establishing himself as a notable writer and critic. It was not until the publication of Savushun, Daneshvar's masterpiece novel, in 1969, that she attained recognition as an indispensable writer of modern Persian literature, surpassing even Al-e Ahmad in literary importance. Savushun was the first novel written by an Iranian woman and from a woman's perspective. The book has been reprinted sixteen times and to this date remains the single most widely read Persian novel. In Savushun there are no longer traces of weak technique, structure, or style. The story, told from Zari's perspective, depicts a Shirazi landowning family which has become entangled in the dirty politics of the 1940s, instigated by foreign intruders and local opportunists. The hero, Yusuf, Zari's husband, resists the foreigners' demands that he turn over his crop to feed the occupying army. To do so would result in the starvation of his own peasants. He pays for his stubbornness with his life. The last scene of the novel is that of Yusuf's burial procession, which is on the verge of turning into a mass demonstration. However, government troops disperse the demonstrators, leaving his body to be carried by his brother and Zari. This scene is among the most moving and well written passages in Persian literature. In Savushun, Daneshvar integrates social events, traditional customs, and beliefs, creating a beautifully narrated story.
Daneshvar's husband died a few months before the publication of Savushun. After Al-e Ahmad's death, Daneshvar continued her involvement in the activities that had been important to her husband. She assumed a leading role in the Writers' Association, which Al-e Ahmad had helped to found, encouraging young writers in their efforts. In her understated yet resolute way, she provided moral support for intellectuals and dissidents opposing the Pahlavi regime. She specifically concentrated her efforts on assisting her students financially and academically. When she refers to political issues in her writings, it is within the broad context of unjust political systems, for Daneshvar never adhered to a particular political ideology. During the mid-1970s Daneshvar kept a low profile. She maintained her position as associate professor and became the chairman of the Department of Art History and Archaeology. In addition to her work at the University, she wrote a series of short stories. A few of these were published in magazines and finally compiled in 1980. To Whom Can I Say Hello? established Daneshvar as a good short story writer, as well as an able novelist. In the stories Traitor's Intrigue, To Whom Can I Say Hello?, and The Accident, Daneshvar upholds the standards of excellence she had attained in Savushun. In this last collection, Daneshvar expands her earlier convictions. The diversity of her characters and her choice of themes reflect her thorough understanding of the multi-faceted Iranian society. She captures the mentality, the ideals, aspirations, lifestyles, manner of speech, and popular expressions of Iran's various social strata. Her well-rounded characters are representative oftheir time and place, presenting a colorful view of Iranian behavior. This quality in her writing affirms the faithfulness of her work as being a true mirror of society. Daneshvar's stories reflect reality rather than fantasy. They contain themes such as child theft, adultery, marriage, childbirth, sickness, death, treason, profiteering, illiteracy, ignorance, poverty and loneliness. The issues she deals with are the social problems of the 1960s and 1970s, which have immediacy and credibility for the reader. Her inspiration is drawn from the people around her. In her own words: "Simple people have much to offer. They must be able to give freely and with piece of mind. We, too, in return, must give to them to the best of our abilities. We must, with all our heart, try to help them acquire what they truly deserve."
Daneshvar depicts the lifestyles of the lower classes, the traditional middle class, and the bourgeoisie with equal clarity. Through her characters one becomes familiar with these various classes. A few examples will help illustrate the diversity of her female characters. Nadia in The Accident is a bourgeois woman who sacrifices her marriage (and potentially the happiness of her children) to further her desired social image. On the other hand, Zari inSavushun is a traditional middle class, educated woman from a feudal family. She nobly accepts her husband's self-sacrifice, devoting herself to carry forth his principles of justice and humanity. In contrast, the protagonist in another story, Anis, is a lower middle class woman with aspirations of social mobility. A maid who has come from a village to Tehran, she is impressed by the bourgeois lifestyle. Seeking to emulate it, she abandons her self respect, individuality, and economic independence. Marmar in Vakil Bazaar is a careless maid who foolishly loses her master's daughter because she cannot tear herself away from a shopkeeper's flirtations. Daneshvar does a brilliant job reproducing Marmar's language. The expressions and idioms Marmar uses are common among the women of her class. Bridging the gap between the spoken and written language has been a major preoccupation of contemporary Persian writers. It is mainly through dialogue that a writer can exercise this practice. Daneshvar, however, is successful in reproducing the cadence of spoken language throughout the whole text, not merely in the dialogue.
Daneshvar is particularly concerned with elderly single women who have worked their entire lives to earn a living, but find themselves poor and broken-hearted in their final years. In To Whom Can I Say Hello? Daneshvar sympathetically depicts Kokab Sultan, a hardworking woman who raises her daughter with great difficulty. Having devoted herself to creating the best possible life for her child, she is forced to sell her daughter into marriage when her only source of income is taken away. Daneshvar, who has adopted the plight of the lower classes, especially that of poor women, considers their economic dependence on men as the source of all their misfortune. She largely blames the structure of society for this condition. Muhtaram, the daughter of a poor cobbler in The Man Who Never Came Back, marries Ebrahim, a peddler. She is so thrilled with the few extra material things she finds at her husband's house that she does not realize that she is still living in poverty. She becomes aware of the desperation of her situation one day when Ebrahim does not return home. Left with little money, no skills, and two small children, she is forced to acknowledge her complete dependance on her husband. This time, though, Muhtaram is lucky and Ebrahim returns home unharmed, saving them from starvation.
Although Daneshvar underscores the social factors contributing to the unfortunate situation of women, she nevertheless maintains her objectivity, at times turning her critical eye upon the individual. Her characters provide role models that are both positive (Zari in Savushun, Maryam in Bibi Shahr Banu, Kokab Sultan in To Whom Can I Say Hello?), as well as negative (Nadia in The Accident, Anis in Anis, the girl in The Playhouse). Out of the changing social milieu of the 1960s and 1970s, writers found it far more difficult to develop believable, progressive characters than to recreate negative characters that were easy to mock. For instance, in The Traitor's Intrigue, one observes the colonel's character development. An unsympathetic charac ter at the start, he evolves into a positive model by the end of the story. He finally stands on his own two feet, asserting his individuality in the face of the regime, disrupting the old order. Folklore and traditional Persian customs preoccupied writers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Much of Daneshvar's work encompassed traditional customs and rituals. She reminds the reader of the virtues and vices of such traditions. Her fiction details superstitions that have survived for centuries, embedded in the extreme religiosity of the lower classes. The common practices of casting away evil spirits and unlocking misfortunes by resorting to magical prayers and witchcraft appear again and again in her stories. Kokab Sultan in To Whom Can I Say Hello? wants to learn the infamy prayer so that she can curse her son-in-law and win her daughter back. The family of the mullah in the Vakil Bazaar want to save their son from the evil spirit which has taken over his body by exorcising him, and offering ablutions and prayers. Daneshvar has no qualms with traditional religious ceremonies and rituals like visiting holy shrines, baking Nazri (an offering of food to the poor), and performing the daily prayers. She does, however, oppose religious superstition, which can brutalize people's lives. In 1979, Daneshvar retired from her post at the University, and in the following year published To Whom Can I Say Hello?
In 1981, she completed a monograph on Al-e Ahmad, Ghoroub-e Jalal (The Loss of Jalal). This is the most moving piece she has written, as well as the best descriptive work on the personality of one of Iran's literary leaders. Daneshvar relates her last days with Al-e Ahmad with great detail and emotional understanding. Her prose is formal, proving her mastery of Persian classical literature. Daneshvar currently resides in Tehran and has recently completed a new novel, Jazireh-ye Sargardani (The Wandering Island). Until the appearance of Daneshvar, contemporary Persian literature could boast of only two able women writers--Parvin E'tesami and Forough Farrokhzad--both poets. Daneshvar proved that women could also achieve excellence in prose. Her works stand as precious contributions to the world of fiction in Iran. As a woman and as a writer, she is a model of the up-and-coming women authors who want to address social concerns. Persian literature today has considerable value, especially when viewed as a mirror of society as well as a medium to influence it. Contemporary Iranian writers like Daneshvar have taken it upon themselves to create a link between literature and social change.
About the Translators
Hasan Javadi was born in 1938 in Tabriz, Iran. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from Cambridge University in 1964 and has taught in Iran and America since. His books include Satire in Persian Literature (1988) and Persian Influence on English Literature (1983). He has translated many books and stories from Persian into English, including Gholam Hosayn Sa'edi's Dandil: Stories from Iranian Life (Random House, 1981).
Amin Neshati received his masters degree in English from Boston College. He lives in Annandale, Virginia, where he is the assistant editor of the Journal of Iranian Studies, and is following a career in translation and editing with a special interest in literary and historical texts.
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