Missing Soluch: A Novel

Overview

Perhaps the most important work in modern Iranian literature, this starkly beautiful novel examines the trials of an impoverished woman and her children living in a remote village in Iran, after the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Soluch.

Lyrical yet unsparing, the novel examines her life as she contends with the political corruption, authoritarianism, and poverty of the village. It follows her vacillations between love for Soluch and...

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Missing Soluch: A Novel

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Overview

Perhaps the most important work in modern Iranian literature, this starkly beautiful novel examines the trials of an impoverished woman and her children living in a remote village in Iran, after the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Soluch.

Lyrical yet unsparing, the novel examines her life as she contends with the political corruption, authoritarianism, and poverty of the village. It follows her vacillations between love for Soluch and anger at his absence, and her struggle to raise her children without their father.

The novel critically evokes the unfulfilled aspirations of modern Iran, portraying a society caught between a past and a future that seem equally weighed down by injustice.

This landmark novel — the first ever written in the everyday language of the Iranian people — revolutionized Persian literature in its beautiful and daring portrayal of the life of a marginal woman and her struggle to survive.  

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An outstanding master achievement."
Der Spiegel

" ... beautifully and incisivelly rendered, and imbued throughout with hope."
Publishers Weekly

“There are some brilliantly tough pieces of writing…[The original’s] vigour comes through in translation.”
TLS
 

“Brings East of Eden to mind… Dowlatabadi knows a world that has seldom overlapped with the modern novel."
The New York Sun

"Dowlatabadi has created a masterpiece."
Words Without Borders  

Publishers Weekly

This stark but engrossing portrait of contemporary rural Iran by Dowlatabadi, an acclaimed Iranian writer and outspoken proponent of artistic freedom, arrives under the auspices of the Association of American Publishers' Freedom to Publish Committee. A saga set in an isolated Iranian village, it concerns a family whose patriarch, Soluch, has recently disappeared, leaving his wife, two sons and one daughter desperate. The remaining family's struggle for survival runs smack up against a sinister plan from local wealthy landowners who are conspiring to usurp the remaining unclaimed land in the village—a barren, intractable plot known as "God's Land" that has been traditionally tended by the poor. The scheme divides the family, as Mergan, the matriarch, clings ferociously to her portion, while her sons, Abbas and Abrau, sell off theirs for petty change. At age 12, Hajer, the daughter, is forced to marry an older man for sustenance; she is bound and raped on her wedding night and thereafter imprisoned in her husband's home. Mergan, who is also raped, toils to keep her house in order for the day that her beloved Soluch returns. The story is relentless, but beautifully and incisively rendered, and imbued throughout with hope. (Apr.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612194318
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/3/2015
  • Pages: 384

Meet the Author

MAHMOUD DOWLATABADI is one of the Middle East’s most important writers of the last century. The author of numerous novels, plays and screenplays, he is a leading proponent of social and artistic freedom in contemporary Iran.

Born in 1940 in a remote farming region of Iran, the son of a shoemaker, his early life and teens were spent as an agricultural day laborer until he made his way to Tehran, where he started working in the theater and began writing plays, stories and novels. He is the author Missing Soluch, published by Melville House and his first work to be translated into English and The Colonel (Melville House, 2012), which was shortlisted for the Haus der Kulturen Berlin International Literary Award and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

Translator Kamran Rastegar teaches Arabic in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures at Tufts University.

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