Alamut takes place in 11th Century Persia, in the fortress of Alamut, where self-proclaimed prophet Hasan ibn Sabbah is setting up his mad but brilliant plan to rule the region with a handful of elite fighters who are to become his "living daggers." By creating a virtual paradise at Alamut, filled with beautiful women, lush gardens, wine and hashish, Sabbah is able to convince his young fighters that they can reach paradise if they follow his commands. With parallels to Osama bin Laden, Alamut tells the story of how Sabbah was able to instill fear into the ruling class by creating a small army... continue
A new English translation of one of the most important, controversial Iranian novels of the twentieth century A Penguin Classic Written by one of the greatest Iranian writers of the twentieth century, Blind Owl tells a two-part story of an isolated narrator with a fragile relationship with time and reality. In first person, the narrator offers a string of hazy, dreamlike recollections fueled by opium and alcohol. He spends time painting the exact same scene on the covers of pen cases: an old man wearing a cape and turban sitting under a cypress tree, separated by a small stream from a beautifu... continue
This collection of poetry by the celebrated southern Iranian poet and filmmaker Roja Chamankar (b. 1981) introduces English-speaking readers to one of the most accomplished and well-loved poets of her generation. Chamankar’s work blends surrealism and the southern coastal landscape of the poet’s upbringing with everyday experiences in rapidly urbanizing Tehran. While locating herself in the modernist tradition of Iranian poets like Forugh Farrokhzad and Ahmad Shamlu through form and imagery, Chamankar infuses this tradition with concerns unique to a generation that grew up in post-revolutionar... continue
The text is a prose rendition of Nizami's 12th-century poetic masterpiece, in which he reshapes the legends of Majnun, the quintessential romantic fool, into a tale of the ideal lover. For the Sufis, Majnun represents the perfect devotee of the "religion of the heart," and the story is an allegory of the soul's longing for God. This is a beautiful production, and it includes a final chapter newly translated from the Persian by Omid Safi and Zia Inayat Khan.
From "a striking new talent"(Sandra Dallas, author of Tallgrass) comes an unforgettable debut novel of young love and coming of age in an Iran headed toward revolution. In this poignant, eye-opening and emotionally vivid novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality of the centuries-old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share. In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the nex... continue
The story of Samarkand is woven around the history of the manuscript of the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam, from its creation by the poet and sage in eleventh-century Persia to its loss when the Titanic sank in 1912. Unwittingly involved in a brawl on the streets of Samarkand, Omar Khayyam is brought before a local judge who recognizes his genius as a poet and gives him a blank book in which to inscribe his verses. Thus the head of a great poet is saved and the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam is born. The threads of his life become interwoven with the designs of the vizier, Nizam al Mulk, and of Hassan S... continue