Foreword by Orkideh Behrouzan.
A city of stories – short, fragmented, amorphous, and at times contradictory – Tehran is an impossible tale to tell. For the capital city of one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East, its literary output is rarely acknowledged in the West. This unique celebration of its writing brings together ten stories exploring the tensions and pressures that make the city what it is: tensions between the public and the private, pressures from without – judgemental neighbours, the expectations of religion and society – and from within – family feuds, thwarted ambitions, destructive relationships. The psychological impact of these pressures manifests in different ways: a man wakes up to find a stranger relaxing in his living room and starts to wonder if this is his house at all; a struggling writer decides only when his girlfriend breaks his heart will his work have depth... In all cases, coping with these pressures leads us, the readers, into an unexpected trove of cultural treasures – like the burglar, in one story, descending into the basement of a mysterious antique collector’s house – treasures of which we, in the West, are almost wholly ignorant.
Translated by: Sara Khalili, Sholeh Wolpé, Alireza Abiz, Caroline Croskery, Farzaneh Doosti, Shahab Vaezzadeh, Niloufar Talebi, Lida Nosrati, Susan Niazi and Poupeh Missaghi.
Developed in partnership with Visiting Arts.
'The aesthetic sensibility of Iranian culture appears, to the West, as mainly pre-modern, if not actually anti-modern... The fiction showcased in The Book of Tehran is a welcome corrective to this tendency... These stories feel decidedly contemporary in style and subject matter alike, with their protagonists' inner lives and interpersonal relationships at the fore.' - The Times Literary Supplement