Morning my lovelies. Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for The Immortals of Tehran by Ali Araghi – an engaging and intriguing multigenerational saga that takes you to post World War II Iran, but with fantastic touches of magical realism……
about the immortals of tehran
The Torkash-vand family reveres their seemingly immortal patriarch, Agha, the trunk of their widely branching, family tree. When we come to the story, Agha is so old that he spends his days sitting in the family orchard, drinking tea and telling stories to his great-great-great-great grandson Ahmad. Agha’s favourite story tells of a family curse that seems to shed light on the political turmoil roiling Iran and foretell Ahmad’s fated role in the country’s future. There is certainly something plaguing Ahmad’s family. At the age of ten Ahmad witnesses his father’s suicide and consequently loses his voice. But this is only the beginning of what will become another very long life: of many loves and losses, of evertangled family dramas, a doomed career in politics, and of incendiary poetry, all of which converge and catch fire at the centre of the Revolution.
Publisher: Melville House Publishing (30 April 2020)
Formats: Paperback, hardback, audiobook and eBook.
Ahmad and his family live in a delightful orchard in a little village in Iran. But on the day of his sisters wedding, Ahmad witnesses his father’s suicide; the trauma of which causes him to never speak again. But before he takes his life, his father imparts some words on Ahmad – words that make no sense, but will they in the future?
The story follows Ahmad and his family, as it grows through the generations, as they move from their little village to Tehran, experience loss and heartbreak, revolution, poverty, estrangement, love and marriage, political turmoil and the unexpected involvement of cats……
From fables to political instability, revolution and uprisings, and magical realism, this story will take you back to post World War II Iran and beyond, on a journey you wouldn’t expect…..
Starting this book I had no knowledge of the history of Iran and really enjoyed learning about the country and the terrible things it, and its people have been through. From famine to people eating hats, I definitely got more than I bargained for. The author has done such a fantastic job of really conveying the turmoil that the people experienced during the many unstable years that followed World War II; as well as adding in touch of blame on a group that you will not expect at all!
Ahmad is a fantastic central protagonist, and I really enjoyed growing with him from a young boy as he experienced first love, puberty, becoming responsible as the man of the house, coping with his muteness, his discovery of poetry, his political career, his marriage, his daughters and grandchildren – basically his whole life. But his family around him are also brilliant characters. I absolutely loved Agha, his seemingly immortal great-great-great-great-grandfather. Full of tales that no-one believes he just wants to enjoy life in his old age, but still has lots of wisdom to impart. Khan, Ahmad’s grandfather is also another favourite! And because we get to see Ahmad grow, we also get to see the same with the rest of his family. From births to marriages, and children of their own, you will become fully invested in the family for sure.
The story does flit about quite a bit. You can be reading about one person, then over to another, then be reading about the political events of the time, to then falling into the magical realism element, but I really enjoyed this and it kept me on my toes!
I’m surprised that this is the author debut. It is really well written, enjoyable to read and conveys the feelings of the characters perfectly. It appears that he has a fantastic understanding of the history of the country and gets this across perfectly too.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. The fact that one minute you’re reading something serious that has you reflecting on the people and what the country went through, to then be reading about the antics of the local cats, may sound strange but it works! So if you’re looking for something a bit different, with a fantastic historical background but with a brilliant touch of magical realism, and with a family you can invest in and follow through the generations, then this could be for you. Recommend by me.
about the author
Ali Araghi is an Iranian writer and translator. He earned his MA in Ancient Cultures and Languages at the University of Tehran and has translated Samuel Beckett into Persian. He won the 2017 Prairie Schooner Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing and is currently working on his PhD in Comparative Literature, International Writers Track, at Washington University. He lives in St. Louis.
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Massive thanks to Nicki from Melville House and the author for my copy of the book. All views and opinions are my own.
Have a wonderful day my lovelies.