The Immortals of Tehran

Melville House. Apr. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781612198187. $27.99. F
DEBUT In this multigenerational novel, Araghi, winner of a Prairie Schooner Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing, explores life in Tehran from the end of World War II to the final days of the Iran-Iraq War. At the story’s center is Ahmad Torkash-Vand, an intelligent, sensitive poet who cannot physically speak. His poems not only speak for him but at their best make the paper they are written on glow and even ignite; at one point, a friend escapes from prison by etching lines from one of Ahmad’s poems on the iron bars and padlocks that confine him, causing them to break. Introducing memorable characters as he chronicles Ahmad’s family and pathway from childhood to esteemed poet to risk-taking politician, Araghi unfolds a poignant story of love, loss, and social upheaval.
VERDICT A highly recommended literary page-turner worth a second reading; fans of Gabriel García Márquez will delight in this fantastical—and fantastic
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