Tehran at Twilight reviewed in the New York Times!
Tehran at Twilight by Salar Abdoh was reviewed by Pauls Toutonghi for the December 21, 2014 issue of the New York Times Sunday Book Review as part of a Middle Eastern Fiction column. Toutonghi writes:
In this swift, hard-boiled novel, an Iranian writer living in New York, Reza Malek, returns to Tehran to settle the affairs of a friend who has inherited a large estate — but who, in order to maintain it, would have to navigate a dangerous and avaricious Iranian religious bureaucracy. “I want to give you a full power of attorney,” the friend says. It’s not clear whether this is a gift or an affliction.
The city is a character here, as well. It is the height of the Green Movement, and protests churn through its public spaces. Malek experiences Tehran as a palimpsest. “Hadn’t it been these very streets, only with different names, during the Islamic Revolution?” The memories are vivid, and occasionally traumatic: “Malek recalled the day he’d seen his first public hanging. He must have been eleven years old.”
Yet the parts of the novel set in America feel rushed; the plot coheres a little too neatly, too quickly. Malek teaches creative writing at an unnamed New York university, where he negotiates politics of a different kind: “In no time Malek got a call from the department head to come see him. It was a planned attack.” These sections do illustrate, however, that shadowy zealots exist everywhere, whether in conference rooms or interrogation rooms or — most often — in rooms that can serve as both.
You can read the full column here.
This New York Times review is only the latest in great praise given to Tehran at Twilight. Publishers Weekly called it “captivating,” saying that Salar Abdoh “paints a gripping portrait of a nation awash in violence and crippled by corruption.” And Shelf Awareness recently called it “a fascinating glimpse of contemporary Iran through the familiar story of childhood friends whose paths are beginning to diverge irreversibly.”
Posted: Dec 19, 2014
Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: New York Times, Salar Abdoh, Review, New York Times Book Review, book review, Sunday Book Review, New York Times Sunday Book Review, Tehran at Twilight, Middle East, Middle Eastern Fiction, Pauls Toutonghi
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