The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

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By the end of this book, you feel as though you're watching a horror movie set in Iran; a political zombie novel about the dead and the walking dead...


Winner of the 2013 Jan Michalski Prize
Longlististed for the Man Asian Literary Prize

A new novel by the master of Iranian letters that directly engages politics in Iran today
Ten years in the writing, this fearless novel—so powerful it’s banned in Iran—tells the stirring story of a tortured people forced to live under successive oppressive regimes.
It begins on a pitch black, rainy night, when there’s a knock on the Colonel’s door. Two policemen have come to summon him to collect the tortured body of his youngest daughter. The Islamic Revolution is devouring its own children. Set over the course of a single night, the novel follows the Colonel as he pays a bribe to recover his daughter’s body and then races to bury her before sunrise.

As we watch him struggle with the death of his innocent child, we find him wracked with guilt and anger over the condition of his country, particularly as represented by his own children: a son who fell during the 1979 revolution; another driven to madness after being tortured during the Shah’s regime; a third who went off to martyr himself fighting for the ayatollahs in their war against Iraq; one murdered daughter, and another who survives by being married to a cruel opportunist.

An incredibly powerful novel about nation, history and family, The Colonel is a startling illumination of the consequences of years of oppression and political upheaval in Iran.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

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MAHMOUD DOWLATABADI is one of the Middle East's most important writers. The author of numerous novels, plays, and screenplays, he is also a leading proponent of social and artistic freedom in 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 a 10-book portrait of Iranian village life, Kelidar. The Colonel has been shortlisted for the Haus der Kulturen Berlin International Literary Award and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.
Published May 8, 2012 by Melville House. 258 pages
Genres: Other, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Jul 09 2012

By the end of this book, you feel as though you're watching a horror movie set in Iran; a political zombie novel about the dead and the walking dead...

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