Theodor Herzl (1860 1904) was the Paris correspondent of the Austrian Neue Freie Presse when he took a momentous decision in June 1895: he would bring about the creation of a state for the Jews. In his attempt to realise this dream, he became the greatest figure of modern Jewish history and is today seen as the father of the State of Israel. The catalyst for Herzl's 'conversion' is usually seen as the Dreyfus affair, which made him realise the impossibility of Jewish existence in Europe. The truth is more complicated and perhaps more dramatic, involving Herzl's background in the context of central Europe's Jewish bourgeoisie, the explosion of anti-Semitism in fin de siècle Paris and Vienna, and not least Herzl's own personal frustrations and dreams. Once decided, his 'state of the Jews' was to be not only the solution to the physical threat to the Jews, but it would also liberate them from their ghetto existence, and provide them with the 'inner freedom' which, from personal experience, Herzl thought they lacked. Herzl's state was to be a model, liberal society, at the forefront of human progress, integrated and at peace with the world community. A century later, this may look naïve - yet, in his vision, Herzl very much speaks to the present age.
Yasmine d'Eli Amir est un roman qui se déroule au lendemain de la guerre des Six Jours de 1967. Le narrateur, Nouri Amari, est le jeune conseiller aux affaires arabes d'un ministre israélien. Né en Irak, arabophone, sa culture et sa sensibilité le portent à comprendre les détresses de la population arabe de la partie orientale de Jérusalem nouvellement occupée, où il a été affecté. Très tôt, par ses contacts avec Abou George, journaliste chrétien palestinien et propriétaire d'un restaurant, Nouri fait la connaissance de la fille de ce dernier, Yasmine, de retour de ses études à Paris. Ce qui devait arriver arriva... Amour au premier regard : refusé, contrarié, accepté, et impossible. D'autres protagonistes animent cette fresque romanesque : Michèle, psychologue formée à la Sorbonne. Kobi, frère de Nouri, agent du Mossad. Hazkel, son oncle, emprisonné à Bagdad, et mystérieusement libéré. Le « ministre délégué », pompeux visionnaire de la colonisation des territoires palestiniens. Ghadid, bergère que Nouri a rencontrée pendant son service militaire, assassinée dans un « crime d'honneur ». Et tant d'autres, dont les destins se croisent ou se heurtent. Yasmine est le constat désabusé de l'impossibilité de concilier l'inconciliable : malgré son respect des Arabes, sa sympathie à leur égard, le fossé entre Juifs et Arabes demeure trop profond pour Nouri. Ce roman réaliste sert aussi de miroir pour notre époque : il nous aide à comprendre la genèse de la première puis deuxième intifada et les ravages actuels du conflit israélo-palestinien sur les deux sociétés antagonistes.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) is one of Germany's greatest writers. His agile mind and brilliant wit expressed themselves in lyrical and satirical poetry, travel writing, fiction, and essays on literature, art, politics, philosophy and history. He was a biting satirist, and a perceptive commentator on the world around him. One of his admirers, Friedrich Nietzsche, said of him: 'he possessed that divine malice without which perfection, for me, is unimaginable.' Heine was conscious of living after two revolutions. The French Revolution had changed the world forever. Heine experienced its effects when growing up in a Düsseldorf that formed part of the Napoleonic Empire, and when spending the latter half of his life in France. The other revolution was the transformation of German philosophy in the wake of Kant: Heine explained this revolution wittily and accessibly to the general public, emphasizing its hidden political significance. One of the great ambivalences of Heine's life was his attitude to being a German Jew in the age of partial emancipation. He converted to Protestantism, but bitterly regretted this decision. In compensation, he explored the Jewish past and present in an unfinished historical novel and in many of his poems.
An illuminating and witty dialogue with one of the greatest intellectual figures of the twentieth century. Ramin Jahanbegloo's interview with Isaiah Berlin grew into a series of five conversations which offer an intimate view of Berlin and his ideas. They include discussions on pluralism and liberty as well as the thinkers and writers who influenced Berlin. This revised edition provided an excellent introduction to Berlin's thought. Ramin Jahanbegloo is an Iranian philosopher, who has taught in Europe and North America. In 2006 he was imprisoned for several months in Iran. He is currently teaching Political Philosophy at Toronto University. 'Though like Our Lord and Socrates he does not publish much, he thinks and says a great deal and has had an enormous influence on our times'. Maurice Bowra 'Berlin never talks down to the interviewer. Conversations here means the minds of the interviewed and interviewer meet on equal terms in language that is transparently clear, informed, witty and entertaining'. Stephen Spender 'He is wise without seeming pompous, witty without seeming trivial, affectionate without seeming sentimental'. Michael Ignatieff 'Isaiah Berlin... has for fifty years in this talkative and quarrelsome city (Oxford) been something special, admired by all and disliked by no-one... a benevolent super-don'. John Bayley http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/
In Baghdad , Lina is trying to lead a normal life, but politics keep intruding. Violent government coups are almost annual events and it';s difficult for a child to understand what';s going on or who to believe. The need for secrecy means Lina cannot tell her best friend that they are just waiting for the right moment to flee. It is the 1960s and Lina is part of the dwindling Jewish community. Mona Yahia was born in Baghdad in 1954 and escaped with her family to Israel in 1970. In 1985 she moved to Germany to study fine arts and has remained there ever since. Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize for Fiction 2001 'Yahia rolls Baghdad around her tongue, savouring its suks, smells, and sweetmeats (reading her makes one hungry). This is a truly exotic novel, but it';s also a coming-of-age work in which the almost imperceptible transformation from childhood to adolescence is saltily observed and never sentimentalised. Yahia';s prose courses with insight and wit. Her deftness of touch means that, despite its subject-matter, this novel never becomes a bleak tale of religious persecution, but remains a fresh story about adolescent experience in adversity - with parallels in the most unlikely places.'; Anne Karpf, The Guardian 'The novel powerfully conveys the author';s outrage, as well as her nostalgia for her native land.'; The Times 'Yahia';s writing evokes both the sensuality of domestic intimacy.alongside the horror of public hangngs.When the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad is most politically sophisticated, and also most poignant, when it explores questions of language and identity.'; Alev Adil, Times Literary Supplement
As a child growing up in East Jerusalem, the world puzzled Sari Nusseibeh: the prosaic co-existed too closely with the mythical and sacred whilst the political world seemed to him ever-changing and incomprehensible. The young Nusseibeh revelled in the city';s rich past. He played in the streets of his beloved Old City which were steeped not only in the histories of the three great religions but also in his family';s history: for the Nusseibehs had lived here for thirteen centuries serving as judges, teachers, Sufi sages, politicians and, most extraordinary of all, as doorkeeper to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is perhaps this intimate knowledge of the interconnections between the three religions which led to an open-mindedness in Nusseibeh rarely seen in, let alone expressed by, any protagonist in the Palestine-Israel conflict. Like most Palestinians, his family suffered the upheavals and displacements - if not the economic consequences - of the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948, which we witness through his father';s active participation in defining, and infinitely disputed, moments in the Palestine-Israel conflict. Simultaneously a pan-Arab idealist and healthy sceptic, his father became a legendary figure who never succumbed to nationalist ideology or rhetoric. A philosopher by training and profession, Nusseibeh';s political activism developed after his education at Oxford and Harvard, and was both gradual and reluctant. A firm and idealistic belieer in the possibility of a one-state solution where Jews and Arabs could co-exist in dignity, he was forced to re-assess these ideas as the Israeli occupation affected Palestinian life irrevocably. While teaching at Birzeit University in the West Bank, he was appointed head of the union, which soon brought him into direct confrontation not only with Israeli military law in the West Bank, but also with the PLO leadership. From then on Nusseibeh realized the power of civil disobedience and developed this into a strategic political tool, coupled with his innate respect for personal freedom and his ability to think rationally. Not afraid to criticize either the Israelis or the Palestinians, he has managed to receive death threats from extremists on both sides and has even been termed «the smiling face of Palestinian terror" by some Israelis. Appointed by Arafat as the PLO representative in Jerusalem in 2001, Nusseibeh';s relationship with him had long been tenuous and reserved. Always aware of Arafat';s achievements, he nevertheless remained highly critical of many aspects of his leadership as well as of the second intifada. Nusseibeh';s unflinching opinions are a fascinating and rare insider';s view into the workings of the first Palestinian Authority. Sari Nusseibeh sees himself on a double mission. He is fighting the Israeli occupation from eradicating the Arab civilization he loves from his native Jerusalem. And at the same time, building the Palestinian institutions necessary to achieve peace, while battling the corruption of Palestinian politics and the extremism of political Islam. Seen by some as a local Don Quixote, his vision of a healthy, democratic society based on respect and tolerance for others and on the freedom of ideas, is crucial to the modern world.
"wherever I have found myself has seemed the proper place for me to be. I have never been an exile." When Ellis Douek was nine years old, his mother insisted that he take up embroidery - in case he decided to be a surgeon when he grew up. Of course she was right, as she always was, for he became Consultant ENT Surgeon at Guy';s Hospital in London. The Douek parents had the unerring quality of belonging in whichever country they lived and yet they never stayed long in one place - Egypt, the Sudan, Columbia and, finally, England, moving either out of political necessity or out of impetuosity. In 1940 they took the extraordinary decision, for a Jewish family, to cross the Atlantic from Columbia to Italy, on their way back to Egypt. Ellis Douek describes this work as strands of memory. These strands weave between remembrance of the dawn across the Nile and the silence of the feloukas, summers in Alexandria by the beach, and the seeming security and hedonism of it all - between Nasser and the Suez War which disrupted their lives and uprooted them and Bradford in Yorkshire in the 1950s where Ellis finished his schooling, an austere place after the prosperity and warmth of their life in Egypt. Ellis, his sister Claudia who would become Claudia Roden the cookery writer, and their younger brother Zaki all spent time together in Paris, largely unsupervised by adults. Ellis began his medical training there and tried to live the life of a left-wing intellectual, hich was perhaps what led his mother to arrange for him to begin medicine all over again, this time in London, during a time of smog, digs and landladies, fish and chips, and the start of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It was also the time of conscription and Ellis became an army medic with the Black Watch in Scotland, during the final days of National Service. Marvelling at the way his life turned out he says, 'wherever I have found myself has seemed the proper place for me to be. I have never been an exile.';
A debut thriller of global intrigue and political conspiracy In the summer of 1531, Medici soldiers, working for Pope Clement VII, tortured to death an obscure Swiss monk, Eusebius Eisenreich. What Eisenreich would not reveal was the location of a simple manuscript, On Supremacy, that far surpassed anything imagined by Machiavelli. The Pope never found the manuscript. This deadly document is at the heart of The Overseer. It has fallen into the hands of a cabal intent on ripping apart society as we know it and creating the terrifying new world order described in the manuscript. A facsimile of Eisenreich's disturbing document has been reprinted in this book. <
An incisive biography of the guiding intellectual presence - and chief internal critic - of Zionism, during the movement's formative years between the 1880s and the 1920s. Ahad Ha'am ('One of the People') was the pen name of Asher Ginzberg (1856-1927), a Russian Jew whose life intersected nearly every important trend and current in contemporary Jewry. His influence extended to figures as varied as the scholar of mysticism Gershom Scholem, the Hebrew poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik, and the historian Simon Dubnow. Theodor Herzl may have been the poltical leader of the Zionist movement, but Ahad Ha'am exerted a rare, perhaps unequalled, authority within Jewish culture through his writings. Ahad Ha'am was a Hebrew essayist of extraordinary knowledge and skill, a public intellectual who spoke with refreshing (and also, according to many, exasperating) candour on every controversial issue of the day. He was the first Zionist to call attention to the issue of Palestinian Arabs. He was a critic of the use of aggression as a tool in advancing Jewish nationalism and a foe of clericalism in Jewish public life. His analysis of the prehistory of Israeli political culture was incisive and prescient. Steven J. Zipperstein offers all those interested in contemporary Jewry, in Zionism, and in the ambiguities of modern nationalism a wide-ranging, perceptive reassessment of Ahad Ha'am's life against the back-drop of his contentious political world. This influential figure comes to life in a penetrating and engaging examination of his relations with his father, with Herzl, and with his devotees and opponents alike. Zipperstein explores the tensions of a man continually torn between sublimation and self-revelation, between detachment and deep commitment to his people, between irony and lyricism, between the inspiration of his study and the excitement of the streets. As a Zionist intellectual, Ahad Ha'am rejected both xenophobia and assimilation, seeking for the Jews a usable past and a plausible future.
Tandis que s'achève dans le sang la révolte spartakiste, un tueur en série continue de terroriser les rues de Berlin. Pour le commissaire Hoffner la découverte d'une cinquième victime n'a rien d'ordinaire. Son nom : Rosa Luxemburg. Même mode opératoire, même rituel macabre. L'ombre d'une piste se dessine, mais plus l'évidence s'impose, plus l'ombre devient menaçante...
Berlin 1927: when an executive at the newly-famous Ufa film studios is found dead in his bath, it falls to Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner, of the Kriminalpolizei to investigate. With the help of the German film director Fritz Lang and the head of the most powerful crime syndicate, Hoffner finds his case reaches deep into Berlin';s sex and drug trade, and into the political world of Hitler';s Brownshirts (the SA). Caught up in this story is Hoffner';s new lover, and his two sons, one of whom works for Joseph Goebbels. We last met Hoffner in Rosa (2007); his relationship with his sons develops menacingly in Shadow and Light.
Ayatollah Ali Baharvand has stepped down as one of Iran's nuclear negotiators. Sickened by the revolution that failed to elevate his country to the heights it deserved, he plans to seize control and strike his own deal with the West. But how far can he be trusted?
On the Eve of Hitler';s Olympics, Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner is forced out of the Kriminalpolizei because he is a half Jew. Hoffner is not surprised given the rise of Nazism, and anyway his focus is elsewhere. His son Georg is missing in Spain, swept up in the sudden outbreak of the civil war. He has already lost Sascha, his elder son, to the Nazi regime. But Georg is not what he appears to be, and when Hoffner discovers this, he is determined to save the one son he can. Now, nearly ten years after the events of Shadow and Light, Hoffner finds himself tossed into the chaos that is Spain - where he quickly meets anarchists, Soviet and British secret agents, and a female doctor called Mila Pera - as he follows a trail of clues left by Georg. Rabb delivers another brilliant atmospheric work.
In a moment of idle curiosity, Musa tries on the modest garb of a Muslim woman to experience for himself what it's like to be veiled. While this causes much mirth among his fellow students at the Madrasah, the elders are not amused, viewing Musa's experimentation as a prank too far.< < Back at home he must conform to family life and face the prospect of an arranged marriage. Cleverly, the family patriarch, Dadaji, offers him a deal: a month of days to find himself a bride or else Musa must accept Dadaji's own choice.< < And so the race is on for Musa, a devout Muslim and gentle idealist, who dreams of a perfect companion but despairs of ever finding her. When his siblings and friends step in to help, their efforts lead both to hilarity and outrage but soon the dark side of tradition rears its ugly head...< < A brilliant debut.
An ageing film director, Yair Moses, has been invited to the Spanish pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela to attend a retrospective of his early work. As he and Ruth, his leading actress and former muse, settle into their room at the parador, Moses notices a painting depicting the classical story of an elderly prisoner nursing at the breast of a young woman. For the first time in decades, Moses recalls a similar scene from one of his early films, which led to his dramatic estrangement from his screenwriter, Trigano. Trigano's spirit haunts the retrospective, as the director and actress re-live each film. They question artistic decisions and are surprised at how differently each remembers the past, slowly revealing to each other past reasons for decisions taken at the time. A troubled Moses decides to seek out the elusive Trigano to settle their differences, and to propose a new collaboration. But the reluctant screenwriter demands an outrageous price for this reconciliation: Moses must commit to a deeply disturbing act of atonement. Ultimately, reality and the sublime mingle when Moses has an epiphany, as he nears the end of his quest and the source of his imagination. Searching, witty and trenchant, this work by an internationally respected and original writer is a meditation on the roots of artistic inspiration, the limits and the truth of memory, and the struggle for artistic creation.
Life in the Ya'ari family is full, complicated and often humorous, but beyond it lies a fragile society deeply uneasy with itself and badly scarred, with each family harbouring its own ghosts.< < Ever-creative, A.B. Yehoshua's short, interwoven chapters create a duet-like narrative which penetrates deeply into human relationships. He taps into the psyche of the reader as he taps into the psyche of his country, and we emerge altered by what we have read.< < Yehoshua ... has been one of his country's most vital chroniclers and critics. Ethan Bronner, The New York Times Book Review< < Yehoshua has long been praised for his Faulknerian novels and though the two rather unexceptional middle class Israeli families in Friendly Fire lack the gothic appurtenances of the Snopeses and Compsons, his story is not short on sound and fury. Eric Banks, Financial Times< < None of Yehoshua's books, no matter how personal, is without political, historical and religious importance. Friendly Fire is no exception. Haaretz
Now an award-winning feature film The Human Resources Manager A suicide bomb explodes in a Jerusalem market. One of the victims is a migrant worker without any papers, only a salary slip from the bakery where she worked as a night cleaner. As her body lies unclaimed in the morgue, her employers are labelled unfeeling and inhuman by a local journalist. The manager of human resources is given the task of discovering who she was and why she had come to Jerusalem. As the image of this once-beautiful dead woman begins to obsess him, the manager turns this duty into a personal mission - he is no longer just saving his company';s reputation by trying to discover her identity and assure her of a dignified funeral. He is now restoring her not only to her family and country but also to common humanity - whilst at the same time conquering the hardness of his own heart.
When his Uncle Hizkel is arrested, Kabi and his family face an uncertain future as do all Jews living in 1950s' Baghdad. Each member of Kabi's circle has a different dream: his mother wants to return to the Moslem quarter where she felt safer; his father wants to emigrate to Israel and grow rice there while Salim, his headmaster, wants Arabs and Jews to be equal, and Abu Edouard just wants to continue to care for his beloved doves.
A journalist and her fixer struggle for the truth where truth is now a victim Nabil al-Amari is an English teacher in Baghdad, in Saddam's Iraq, when a chance encounter with Samara Katchens, an American journalist covering the war, changes his life forever. It is April 2003 and American and British forces have recently invaded Iraq. Samara, or Sam for short, is ambitious, cynical and determined. Nabil is both fascinated and bewildered by her, and he's keen to show her things she doesn't notice in her rush to cover the news. She is pushed by her editor to seek concrete proof for a story concerning payments for false documents - a practice which breaks all journalistic codes of ethics - 'as if truth were so hard in that way, like rocks and concrete'. In Iraq it is rarely so. As Sam single-mindedly pursues this story, she discovers a chasm between her editor's expectations and the reality she faces in a city torn apart by war and conflicting loyalties. And in her determination to uncover the truth, she takes one gamble too many, endangering herself, Nabil and his family.< Ilene Prusher was a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor from 2000 to 2010, serving as bureau chief in Tokyo, Istanbul, and Jerusalem and covering the major conflicts of the past decade: Iraq and Afghanistan. Her work has beenpublished in many major US and UK newspapers, including The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Washington Post and The New Republic. She is now an independent journalist in Jerusalem, teaches Reporting Conflict for NYU-Tel Aviv, and runs creative writing workshops. Baghdad Fixer is her first novel.
Yochanan Rivlin, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Haifa University, is determined to understand two conflicts that have become central to his life:the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, which he feels will help him better understand the Arab mind and, more personally, his son's divorce. His is a double search for truth, each involving a different bride-Samaher, his newly-wed Arab research assistant from a village in the Galilee, and Galya, who deserted his son in Jerusalem with no explanation. Against his wife's better judgment, Rivlin tries obsessively to get to the core of both problems, crossing boundaries at once personal and political-man and wife, father and son, teacher and pupil, Jew and Arab. With equal measures of energy, humour, anxiety, and poetry, Yehoshua portrays a life sometimes improbable, often dark, and infinitely rich. The Liberated Bride is a feat of masterly storytelling from one of the world's great novelists. "The Liberated Bride seethes with emotions, dreams, ideas, humor, pathos, all against a backdrop of violence, conflict, and terror." The Sun (New York) "Yehoshua seeks to present two worlds, those of Israel';s Jewish majority and its Arab minority. He has done it rather as Tolstoy wrote of war and peace: two novels, in a sense, yet intimately joined. Paradoxically - and paradox.is the book';s engendering force - the war is mainly reflected in the zestfully intricate quarrels in the Jewish part of the nove. The peace largely flowers when Rivlin finds himself breaking through the looking glass into the Arab story." Richard Eder, The New York Times "The Liberated Bride is tinged with the kind of innate, unavoidable suspense that the threat of bus bombs brings." Herald Tribune "The boundaries that are broken down in The Liberated Bride include those within the self and others; mystical boundaries between self and God; political and cultural boundaries and finally, the stylistic boundaries of the novel itself, which Yehoshua is constantly stretching in different directions." International Jerusalem Post "A splendidly realized search for the causes of ruptures that rend families and nations: both timely and timeless." Kirkus Review
Five conversations, each centring on the fate of a different member of the Sephardi Mani family, make up this profound, far-reaching and passionate Mediterranean novel which tells of six generations of the family, but in reverse chronology. In each conversation the responses of one person are absent, thus drawing in the reader as the story reaches back into the past, creating one of the most extraordinary reading experiences in modern literature. On a kibbutz in the Negev in 1982, a student tells her mother about her strange meeting in Jerusalem with Judge Gavriel Mani, the father of her boyfriend whose child she is expecting. On the occupied island of Crete in 1944, a German soldier relates to his adoptive grandmother his experiences there with the Mani family, whom he hunts down. In Jerusalem, occupied by the British in 1918, a young Jewish lawyer serving with the British army briefs his commanding officer on the forthcoming trial for treason of the political agitator Yosef Mani. In a village in southern Poland in 1899, a young doctor reports to his father his experiences at the Third Zionist Congress and his subsequent trip to Jerusalem with his sister, who falls in love with Dr Moshe Mani, an obstetrician. In Athens, in 1848, Avraham Mani reports to his elderly mentor the intricate tale of his trip to Jerusalem and the death there of his young son. Mr Mani is conceived on an epic scale as a hymn to the continuity of Jewish life. This formulation sounds pat ad sentimental, but Yehoshuas achievement is the opposite: it always suggests even more complex worlds beyond the vignettes of which the novel is composed. Stephen Brook, New Statesman and Society Suffused with sensuous receptiveness to Jerusalem its coppery light, its pungent smells, its babble of tongues, its vistas crumbling with history Yehoshuas minutely researched novel ramifies out from the city to record the rich and wretched elements that have gone into the founding and continuation of the nation whose centre it has once again become. Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times Adjectives come racing to mind to describe Mr Mani, for instance rich, complex, exotic, creative, informative, but easy is one that does not fit. On finishing it, this reader had the reaction that he had to turn back to the beginning in order to grasp more firmly the sources of his admirationIt is extraordinarily skilful to have captured the Jewish mixture of suffering and revival, despair and messianic hope, without in any way spelling out such heavy themes. David Pryce-Jones, The Financial Times A.B. Yehoshua has created a historical and psychological universe nearly biblical in the range and penetration of its enchanting begats with an amazingly real Jerusalem at its centre. It is as if the blood-pulse of this ingeniously inventive novel had somehow fused with the hurtling vision of the generations of Genesis. With Mr. Mani, Yehoshua once again confirms his sovereign artistry; and Hillel Halkins translation has a brilliant and spooky life of its own. Cynthia Ozick
Yehuda Kaminka, a retired teacher, returns to Israel from the U.S. to divorce his estranged wife who was committed to a mental asylum after she stabbed him. This impending divorce inevitably throws into turmoil the couple';s three children and grandson. Yehuda';s nine days, leading up to Passover, are remembered by different members of the family: A.B. Yehoshua';s brilliance reveals itself in these different voices, each a minor masterpiece.
In the autumn, Molkho';s wife dies. His years of loving care have ended and his newfound freedom proves unlike the one he had imagined. It is an uneasy freedom, filled with the erotic fantasies of a man who must fall in love, but whose longing for meaningful relationships is held hostage by the spirit of his wife. Five Seasons is a subtle and often comic novel about love and renewal, and the determination of a seasoned heart to love.
Tribal leaders in opposition to the government, the corruption of occupation, society torn apart by shifting political loyalties. this is the background to one woman';s powerful story. A Persian Requiem is a powerful and evocative novel. Set in the southern Persian town of Shiraz in the last years of World War II, when the British army occupied the south of Persia, the novel chronicles the life of Zari, a traditional, anxious and superstitious woman whose husband, Yusef, is an idealistic feudal landlord. The occupying army upsets the balance of traditional life and throws the local people into conflict. Yusef is anxious to protect those who depend upon him and will stop at nothing to do so. His brother, on the other hand, thinks nothing of exploiting his kinsmen to further his own political ambitions. Thus a web of political intrigue and hostilities is created, which slowly destroys families. In the background, tribal leaders are in open rebellion against the government, and a picture of a society torn apart by unrest emerges. In the midst of this turbulence, normal life carries on in the beautiful courtyard of Zari';s house, in the rituals she imposes upon herself and in her attempt to keep the family safe from external events. But the corruption engendered by occupation is pervasive - some try to profit as much as possible from it, others look towards communism for hope, whilst yet others resort to opium. Finally even Zari';s attempts to maintain noral family life are shattered as disaster strikes. An immensely moving story, A Persian Requiem is also a powerful indictment of the corrupting effects of colonization. A Persian Requiem (first published in 1969 in Iran under the title Savushun), was the first novel written by an Iranian woman and, sixteen reprints and half a million copies later, it remains the most widely read Persian novel. In Iran it has helped shape the ideas and attitudes of a generation in its revelation of the factors that contributed to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Simin Daneshvar';s A Persian Requiem . goes a long way towards deepening our understanding of Islam and the events leading up to the 1979 Revolution . The central characters adroitly reflect different Persian attitudes of the time, attitudes that were eventually to harden into support for either the Ayatollah and his Islamic fundamentalism or, alternatively, for the corrupting Westernisation of the Shah. The value of the book lies in its ability to present these emergent struggles in human terms, in the day-to-day realities of small-town life . Complex and delicately crafted, this subtle and ironic book unites reader and writer in the knowledge that human weakness, fanaticism, love and terror are not confined to any one creed. The Financial Times A Persian Requiem is not just a great Iranian novel, but a world classic. The Independent on Sunday . it would be no exaggeration to say that all of Iranian life is there. Spare Rib For an English reader, there is almost an embarrassment of new settings, themes and ideas . Under the guise of something resembling a family saga - although the period covered is only a few months - A Persian Requiem teaches many lessons about a society little understood in the West. Rachel Billington, The Tablet This very human novel avoids ideological cant while revealing complex political insights, particularly in light of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Publishers Weekly A Persian Requiem, originally published [in Iran] in 1969, was a first novel by Iran';s first woman novelist. It has seen sixteen reprints, sold over half a million copies, and achieved the status of a classic, literally shaping the ideas of a generation. Yet when asked about the specific appeal of the novel, most readers are at a loss to pinpoint a single, or even prominent aspect to account for this phenomenal success. Is it the uniquely feminine perspective, allowing the read