The space between us by Zoya Pirzad

the space between us

The space between us by Zoya Pirzad

Persian fiction

Original title – Yek Ruz Mande be Eid Pak

Translator – Amy Motlagh

Source – review copy

When Henry who works for me contact one world saying they have a couple of new novels from Iran coming out I jumped at the chance as it is one of the few countries I haven’t read a lot from ,I only have one book under review so this is the first of two books forthcoming from One World .Zoya Pirzad is described as a rising star of Iranian fiction .She is of Iranian / Armenian descent ,she is known for using the everyday life of m Iran in her novels and lifting the lid on everyday lives of ordinary people .

That year I turned twelve .

Early one morning ,a few days before easter ,I stood on the balcony at the top of the stairs that ran down to the courtyard and ran my hand over the banister .No sliding down today .

Early on in his life easter mentioned and Edmond is just about to meet Tahereh at school

This book is called the space between us in English but the orginal title when translated is One day before easter which maybe gives you a slight Clue to the story .As the main character in this story is a Christian of Armenian descent ,his name is Edmond Lazarian .The story is of Edmond daughter  who falls in love with a man who lives in the same town .Now this would be a love story  ,but the man Edmond’s daughter falls for is a Muslim this leads to much tension for Edmond but also the local community . Add to this Edmond’s best friend  Tahereh is a Muslim they grew up together she was the daughter of a janitor and his only friend when he grew up .This choice for Edmond  daughter cause him to make a big decision about what to do ,we see later how this decision effect him and the people around him .

The morning of the day after easter ,I sit at the dining room table and look at the garden .The violets lean this way and that in the breeze :it’s as if they’re finally at home in their new place .

On a pice of white paper , in green ink ,I begin a letter : dearest numush 

The closing lines and finally events take place after Easter .

I said the original title had some meaning because a lot of these events seem to take place in the day before Easter in the book .This book was an interesting look into the everyday life of people inside Iran the mix of religions and communities is something we never see in the press .Edmond as the lead character shines a light on the Armenian community in Iran and their interaction with the Muslims .The small town where they live is mostly Armenian so the town is really the opposite to the rest of the country leading to much different views .It shows how close and how far apart to religions can be .Now I making this also sound exotic when actually it isn’t really it is down to earth it is about love ,family and friends and that could be set anywhere ,so as I said earlier Zoya Pirzad is known for her portrayal of everyday and as I have said many times on the blog the everyday in place like where this book is set a small town is very much the everyday anywhere .

Have you a favourite book from Iran ?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brian Joseph
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 15:27:22

    I have not heard much about Iranian literature. It is super the way in which you explore the writings coming from such diverse cultures Stu!

    i always find stories that examine how different religions and belief systems interact so very interesting.

    Reply

  2. Scott W.
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 23:22:21

    I read a book of short stories by Pirzad a few years ago and liked it a lot. I’m glad to see she’s finally getting translated into English; her work has been available for a number of years – and to great acclaim – in France.

    I’m absolutely determined to finally read Sadegh Hedeyat’s The Blind Owl this year. It’s been molding on my shelf for going on a decade, and comes recommended as one of the great 20th century Persian works.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Feb 05, 2014 @ 11:44:58

      Hi Scott I’ve blind owl on my shelves as well it is great she her available in English I had seen more of her work translated into French we are always behind everyone else

      Reply

  3. Tony
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 10:52:21

    Not a country I’ve visited so far in my literary travels – perhaps one to catch up on at some point :)

    Reply

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