By Shahriar Mandanipour
Translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili
From “one of Iran's most important living fiction writers” (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who’s searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams.
Paperback List Price: $19.99 • ISBN: 9781632061287• Publication: 4/17/2018 • 5.5” x 8.25” • 480 pages • Fiction: Iranian / Literary / War • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632061294
About the Book
Before he enlisted as a soldier in the Iran–Iraq war and disappeared, Amir Yamini was a carefree playboy whose only concerns were seducing women and riling his religious family. Five years later, his mother and sister Reyhaneh find him in a mental hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, his left arm and most of his memory lost. Amir is haunted by the vision of a mysterious woman whose face he cannot see—the crescent moon on her forehead shines too brightly. He names her Moon Brow.
Back home in Tehran, the prodigal son is both hailed as a living martyr to the cause of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Revolution and confined as a dangerous madman. His sense of humor, if not his sanity, intact, Amir cajoles Reyhaneh into helping him escape the garden walls to search for Moon Brow. Piecing together the puzzle of his past, Amir decides there’s only one solution: he must return to the battlefield and find the remains of his severed arm—and discover its secret.
All the while, twin scribes—the angel of virtue and the angel of sin—sit on our hero’s shoulders and narrate the story in enthrallingly distinctive prose. Wildly inventive and radically empathetic, steeped in Persian folklore and contemporary Middle East history, Moon Brow is the great Iranian novelist Shahriar Mandanipour’s unforgettable epic of love, war, morality, faith, and family.
Praise for Shahriar Mandanipour:
“Shahriar Mandanipour is one of the leading novelists of our time. … Mandanipour is one of Iran's most important living fiction writers, with a long track record and a formidable reputation in his own country. Since 2006 Mandanipour has been living in the USA … where he moved to escape the censorship that was hampering publication of his work inside Iran. One of Iran’s greatest novelists is living and writing in the West, and readers of English are able at last to commune with his novelistic intelligence.”
—David Mattin, The Guardian
"Mandanipour’s writing is exuberant, bonhomous, clever, profuse with puns and literary-political references; the reader unversed in contemporary Iranian fiction might easily think of Kundera … or of the Rushdie of Midnight’s Children.… Charming and often witty.”
—James Wood, The New Yorker
“[Mandanipour’s] works of fiction, densely metaphorical and replete with symbolisms drawn from the Persian literary tradition, reflect the extraordinary times he and his country have witnessed without being overtly political or tediously ideological. … As a writer in exile he has a difficult journey ahead, not least of which is to decide on his intended audience. He has, I think, the potential to create a genre of Persian literature that could breach the gap in literary sensibilities that separates readers from vastly different traditions.”
—Maria Baghramian, The Irish Times
“While his fiction remained unpublished in Iran for much of the 1990s on account of censorship, he is one of that country’s most celebrated and accomplished contemporary novelists.... Mandanipour expresses the complexity of his culture—not just of the society of the Islamic Republic, but of the underlying Persian traditions that continue to influence it.”
—Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books
“Both an essayist and a novelist, Shahriar Mandanipour has been dubbed ‘one of the leading novelists of our time’ by The Guardian.... Mandanipour’s writing style is widely loved by readers and critics alike because of his experiments with both language and context, and the way he beautifully weaves metaphoric images and symbols.”
—Andrew Kingsford-Smith, The Culture Trip, “10 Must-Read Iranian Authors”
About the Author
Shahriar Mandanipour is one of the most accomplished writers of contemporary Iranian literature, the author of nine volumes of fiction, one nonfiction book, and more than 100 essays in literary theory, literature and art criticism, creative writing, censorship, and social commentary.
Mandanipour was born in 1957 in Shiraz, Iran, and started writing from a young age. He studied political science at Tehran University and bore witness to the 1979 revolution. After the onset of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, he joined the military and volunteered for duty at the front, where he served as a non-career officer in the 191st Infantry for more than eighteen months. In cement trenches or holes dug in earth and stone, he wrote in the light of a paraffin lantern, between the mortar attacks.
The first collection of his stories, Shadows of the Cave, was published in 1989, and the second, The Eighth Day of the Earth, in 1992. Though he continued to write in the years that followed, due to censorship he was not published again until 1997, following the election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, and four of his books were published one or two years apart. In 1999, he became Editor-in-Chief of the monthly literary journal Asr-e Panjshanbeh (Thursday Evening), and remained so until it was banned in 2007.
In 2006, Mandanipour moved to the United States and has held fellowships at Brown University, Harvard University, Boston College, and at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Some of his short stories and essays have been published in anthologies such as Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature and Sohrab’s Wars: Counter Discourses of Contemporary Persian Fiction: A Collection of Short Stories and a Film Script; and in journals such as The Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Short works have been published in France, Germany, Denmark, and in languages such as Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish.
Mandanipour’s first novel to appear in English, Censoring an Iranian Love Story, translated by Sara Khalili and published by Knopf in 2009, was named by the New Yorker as one of the reviewers’ favorites of 2009, by the Cornell Daily Sun as Best Book of the Year for 2009, and by NPR as one of the best debut novels of the year; it was awarded (Greek ed.) the Athens Prize for Literature for 2011. The novel has been translated and published in 12 other languages and in 14 countries throughout the world.
Currently, he teaches creative writing as a visiting Professor of the Practice at Tufts University.
About the Translator
Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali. She has also translated several volumes of poetry by Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Siavash Kasraii, and Fereydoon Moshiri. Her short story translations have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, EPOCH, GRANTA, Words Without Borders, The Literary Review, PEN America, Witness, and Consequence.