A Novel by Ghazaleh Alizadeh


Original language: Persian

Translator to English: Rosa Jamali

Number of pages:757 pages in Persian

First publication:Tirajeh, 1991

Type of novel: Dystopian, river-novel (roman-fleuve), Allegory

Theme: The Age of Decline

Plot: A manor house is occupied by government militia and common people, the house ends up in confiscation, some die, some go to exile and others put up with a new situation

Narrative style: Chronological order, flashback

Time: Not specified

Setting: Not specified

Point of view: The intrusive omniscient third-person narrator

Literary school : Realist with traces of Surrealism, Symbolist with digressions to Magic realism, some elements of Gothic fiction are seen

Similar novels: George Orwell's Animal Farm

                       Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time 

                       Russian classics

 Language: The book's success is due to its polyphonic structure of juxtaposing highly prestigious literature of Khorasan and street talk used by commoners.Some layers of intertextuality with Persian classical poetry are seen.

Synopsis: Mrs Edrisi lives with her grandson Vahhab and daughter Legha in a secluded mansion, an armed group  which is called firing-squad band attack them and occupy their place, groups of people and strangers take refuge in the house; some are recognised to be common people and others are called spies. Vahhab who is a very educated young man is obsessed with the memory of his dead aunt Rahila, among the people who enter the house is a young actress who reminds Vahhab of his aunt. Vahhab falls in love with her,...

Roxana turns out to be the spy of firing-squad band and helps them loot the treasure in the house, the residents of the house leave and in a reversal of fortune their lives change dramatically,.. 

Main characters:


-Mrs Edrisi : the landlady , aristocrat

-Vahhab: Mrs Edrisi's grandson, immersed in books

-Roxana: Actress, Vahhab's lover, born and bred in Tbilisi, very much like Nina in Chekhov's THE SEAGULL

-Legha: Mrs Edrisi's elder daughter, peculiar and weird with strange habits 

-Yavar: The old servant, faithful



-Shoukat : A revolutionary woman from labour party, uses a lot of slangs

-Haddadian: The hypocrite mayor, spy of new government

-Borzu: University student

-Rashid: Factory worker

-Qouqan: Tailor

-Younas: Poet

-Rokhsareh: laundry woman

And the guards of the new government mentioned as firing-squad band



Rahila: Mrs Edrisi's daughter who died young of a strange fever and her memory has haunted the house

Mr Edrisi: Mrs Edrisi's late husband, opium addict

Ghobad: Mrs Edrisi's previous lover, joined the firing-squad band

Yuri Marenko: Well-known poet , Roxana's previous lover

Rana:Vahhab's mum who has left them


Note on the title: The title implicitly refers to prophet Idris and Shahab al-din Sohrawardi's theosophy who is the founder of Persian wisdom and illumination philosophy and a follower of prophet Idris, the title has also some significance in secret societies of mystics.

Influences:Apart from the influence of 19th century mode of fiction writing in the West, the book has taken a lot inspirations from narrative versification of Persian Classics in which a labyrinthine mode of story telling develops when a tale is told within another tale, Season three is the peak of such a style.


(Provided by the translator)






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