A city of stories – short, fragmented, amorphous, and at times contradictory – Tehran is an impossible tale to tell. For the capital city of one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East, its literary output is rarely acknowledged in the West. This unique celebration of its writing brings together ten stories exploring the tensions and pressures that make the city what it is: tensions between the public and the private, pressures from without – judgemental neighbours, the expectations of religion and society – and from within – family feuds, thwarted ambitions, destructive relationships. The psychological impact of these pressures manifests in different ways: a man wakes up to find a stranger relaxing in his living room and starts to wonder if this is his house at all; a struggling writer decides only when his girlfriend breaks his heart will his work have depth... In all cases, coping with these pressures leads us, the readers, into an unexpected trove of cultural treasures – like the burglar, in one story, descending into the basement of a mysterious antique collector’s house – treasures of which we, in the West, are almost wholly ignorant.

Translated by: Sara Khalili, Sholeh Wolpé, Alireza Abiz, Caroline Croskery, Farzaneh Doosti, Shahab Vaezzadeh, Niloufar Talebi, Lida Nosrati, Susan Niazi and Poupeh Missaghi.

Foreword by Orkideh Behrouzan.

Developed in partnership with Visiting Arts.

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About the author

 Fereshteh Ahmadi is a novelist, short story writer, literary critic and editor. After studying architecture at the University of Tehran, she became a journalist in the late 1990s, and has since gone on to publish three collections of short stories: Everyone’s Sarah (2004), featuring ‘Television’, selected by the Hooshang Golshiri Foundation as one of the best short stories of the year; Hyperthermia (2013); and Domestic Monsters (2016). She has also published two novels: The Fairy of Forgetfulness (2007), finalist of the Mehregan Award and the Rouzi-Rouzegari Awards for the Bookseller’s Choice of the Best Novel, and Cheese Forest (2008), as well as a children’s book: Nameless. She works as an editor for several publishing houses and is a member of the jury of the Golshiri and Rouzi-Rouzegari awards. In 2017, Ahmadi was writer in residence at the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay.

Orkideh Behrouzan is a physician, poet, anthropologist and the author of Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran (2016, Stanford University Press). She was the 2015–16 Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the winner of the 2011 Kerr Award from the Middle Eastern Studies Association. Behrouzan’s short story ‘Binazeer’ was adapted for the stage by director Mehrdad Seyf and produced as part of the EAST15 World Performance in the UK. She helped to develop the collaborative project Beyond ‘Trauma’: Emergent Agendas for Understanding Mental Health in the Middle East, which involved an interdisciplinary Web-Hub (funded by SOAS Seed Corp Award) as well as a podcast series exploring narrations of memory in art, literature, and everyday life. She presented a TEDx talk on Rethinking Mental Health and the Afterlife of War in 2018, and is currently Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the London Middle East Institute.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Comma Press
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Published on
Apr 25, 2019
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9781912697182
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
History / Middle East / Iran
Travel / Middle East / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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An Iranian family embroiled in Islamic revolution, the hostage crisis, incest, and exile in America

Forced to flee the country with their parents as Khomeini rises to power, Nora and Jahan Ellahi rise to the challenge of anti-Iranian hostility in America. Breaking free from their intense attachment to each other, they explore new relationships to forge independent lives. The romantic artist Jahan ultimately returns to join the army to fight Iraq, while ambitious Nora finds a life of greater opportunity and personal freedom in the U.S.

“If, as Aristotle reminds us, we are our desire, then who are we if the object of our desire is forbidden? What becomes of us if we are born in one world yet long for another? These are just two of the complex and difficult questions Nahid Rachlin explores and ultimately illuminates in this brave, engrossing, and timely novel. I recommend it highly!” – Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

Jumping Over Fire is a political novel with a strong dose of Wuthering Heights blended into it . . . potent subject matter . . ." – The Seattle Times

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ARIA MINU-SEPEHR was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege as the son of a major general in the Shah’s Imperial Iranian Air Force. It seemed his father could do anything—lead the Golden Crowns in death-defying aerobatic maneuvers; command an air force unit using top American technology; commission a lake to be built on a desert military base, for waterskiing. When Aria was eight, “Baba” built him a dune buggy so he could explore the desert; by ten, the boy handled the controls of a Beechcraft Bonanza while his father napped in the copilot’s seat. Aria moved easily between the two distinct worlds that existed under his family’s roof—a division that mirrored the nation’s own deep and brooding divide. He was as comfortable at the lavish cocktail parties his parents threw for Iran’s elite as he was running amok in the kitchen where his beloved nanny grumbled about the whiskey drinking, French ham, and miniskirts.

The 1970s were the end result of half a century of Westernization in Iran, and Aria’s father was the man of the hour. But when the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah rose to power in 1979, Aria’s idyllic life skidded to a halt. Days spent practicing calligraphy in his father’s embrace, lovingly torturing his nanny, and watching Sesame Street after school were suddenly infused with fears that the militia would invade his home, that he himself could be kidnapped, or that he would have to fire a gun to save Baba’s life. As the surreal began to invade the mundane, with family friends disappearing every day and resources growing scarce, Aria found himself torn between being the man of the house and being a much needed source of comic relief. His antics shone a bright light for his family, showing them how to escape, if only momentarily, the grief and horror that a vengeful revolution brought into their lives.

We Heard the Heavens Then is a deeply moving story told from two vantage points: a boy growing up faster than any child should, observing and recoiling in the moment, and the adult who is dedicated to a measured assessment of the events that shaped him. In this tightly focused memoir, Aria Minu- Sepehr takes us back through his explosive youth, into the heart of the revolution when a boy’s hero, held up as the nation’s pride, became a hunted man.
In the nearly 25 years since the ascent of an Islamic regime, Iran has become one of the most prominent supporters of terror worldwide. Today Iran actively employs terror to achieve its international objectives. The Axis of Evil outlines the operations and goals of Shiite and Iranian terror. As Shaul Shay shows, Iran has done its utmost to conceal its involvement in terror activities and avoids leaving incriminating "fingerprints" that might prompt retaliatory action by victims of this terrorism. In consequence, most of what we know about Iranian terror activity has been gleaned from the capture and trials of Iranian terrorists or terrorists acting on Iran's behalf.

The Axis of Evil deals extensively with Iran's involvement in terrorist activity against Israel through Hizballah after the Israel Defense Forces' withdrawal from Lebanon (May 2000) and the instigation of the Al-Aksa Intifada (September 2000-2003). It examines Iran's attitude towards the State of Israel since the rise of Knomeini, confirming that Iran sees Israel as a primary source of the world's wrongdoings and the epitome of evil. In turn, Israel has become one of Iran's archenemies. Over the years, Iran has strengthened its ideological links with radical Arab and Palestinian circles. In addition, it actively supports Hizballah, which acts on behalf of Iran from its base in Lebanon and perpetrates terror attacks against Israel and against representatives of Western and Arab countries in Lebanon as well as in the international arena.

This book is a comprehensive and in-depth study of Shiite and Iranian terror activity. In addition to drawing attention to the significance of Iran's contributions to terror, it provides readers with a better understanding of Iran's activities in light of the global war against terrorism as well as the deployment of American troops along Iran's borders with Afghanistan and Iraq.

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An immersive, gripping account of the rise and fall of Iran's glamorous Pahlavi dynasty, written with the cooperation of the late Shah's widow, Empress Farah, Iranian revolutionaries and US officials from the Carter administration

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