Obviously I read the English translation of this but there doesn’t seem to be an English version on Goodreads? Anyway it’s one of my library picks which is why it’s so random and an extremely unusual genre for me to read. This is what I love about the library, I pick up books I would never buy in a million years. If this was in a bookshop full of free books Id probably have still left it behind.
However I am glad that I’ve read it now that it’s over. It didn’t grip me throughout and I wasn’t feeling overly enthusiastic about it at any stage really but it wasn’t all bad. It was interesting in the sense that I have zero knowledge of Iran or its political history so I was learning something which is always a good thing.
Basically it tells the story of a family who live beside a Mosque in Senejan and are also the mosques caretakers. Some parts are hard to get your head around because of the MASSIVE cultural differences between Middle Eastern countries and the West but I tried my best to look at it from their point of view. However as I am what they would probably call your typical ‘ignorant Westerner’ it was hard for me. What I found especially hard to accept was the way women are treated over there. They really are treated like second class citizens or worse and are rarely allowed to have an opinion never mind stand up for themselves.
Throughout the book we meet different characters, both male and female, and while the general feeling towards women was the same there were men who treated them better than others. Our main character Aqa Jaan treated his wife better than most of the other male characters we met but there were, without doubt, still times when I was left shocked by a comment or an action that excluded or demeaned his wife in some way or other.
I must try to be more neutral, however, as this is a way of life for some people and most of the women seemed to just accept it as normality. However the author is a man so how much of women in Iran does he really understand?
At the very least I definitely learned a lot from this book about the Muslim culture and Iranian history. It wasn’t my favourite book but I’m still glad I read it if that makes any sense.