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Overview

A hypnotic page-turner about the grinding gears of historical change and ruthless palace intrigue in Persia, c. 1848.


The King, young Shah Naser, takes to the throne of Persia at a turning point of history: he inherits an enchanted medieval world of harems, eunuchs, and treasures as well as a palace of secret doors, sudden deaths, and hidden agendas. Within the court is danger enough: outside all manner of change threatens—industrialization, colonization.  Russia and England conspire to open the King’s empire; his mother and his vizier take opposing sides. The poor King—almost an exact contemporary of Queen Victoria—is trapped.  He likes some aspects of modernity (electricity, photography) but can’t embrace democracy. He must be a sovereign: he must keep his throne. The King cannot face change and he cannot escape it.


With this gleaming and seemingly simple story, breathlessly paced and beautifully told, Kader Abdolah, the acclaimed Iranian émigré novelist, speaks of deeper truths. A novel which has many timely things to say about eras of change and upheaval, The King is an unforgettable book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811223737
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Kader Abdolah is the pen name of Hossein Sadjadi Ghaemmaghami Farahani. Opposed to the rule of the last Shah and that of the ayatollahs who followed, he lives in Holland and writes in Dutch. Abdolah’s The House of the Mosque and My Father's Notebook have appeared in English here, and he has been acclaimed “moving and illuminating" (Publishers Weekly), “captivating and distinctive” (TLS),  and “clean and lyrical” (Kirkus Reviews).

Nancy Forest-Flier has translated books by Truus Matti and Marleen Westera.

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