Magazine article New Internationalist

My Father's Notebook

Magazine article New Internationalist

My Father's Notebook

Article excerpt

My Father's Notebook by Kader Abdolah, translated from the Dutch by Susan Massotty (Canongate ISBN 978 1 84195 927 6)

The author of My Father's Notebook is an Iranian exile, now living in Holland and writing in Dutch. His pseudonym, Kader Abdolah, was chosen in honour of two of the writer's friends, killed by the current Iranian regime. This fine translation should serve as a welcome introduction to an English-speaking audience.

The novel depicts the recent history of Iran, seen through the eyes of Aga Akbar, a deaf tapestry mender from the remote province of Senejan, a place which is 'not beautiful and has no history to speak of and whose only writer of note wrote poems about sand. The area's only merits are its beautiful Persian rugs and a cave with an ancient cuneiform inscription. This cave becomes the mystery at the heart of the novel and Shahs and ayatollahs use its symbolic power to bolster their respective tyrannies. …

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