Reviewed By Trenton Daniel
In his first novel to be translated into English, Shahriar Mandanipour sets out to write the story of young lovers struggling to consummate their prenuptial passion under the eyes of the Iranian morals police. They hang out nervously in Internet cafes, dark movie houses and on the jammed and smoggy streets of modern-day Tehran.
The clandestine courtship comes at a time when university students protest, and vigilantes watch out for transgressing neighbors. A war with U.S. troops and suicide bombers rages in next-door Iraq.
Telling amorous tales in post-Islamic-revolution Iran is tricky, if not downright dangerous, but a fictional writer named Shahriar Mandanipour, is up to the task. ''I am an Iranian writer tired of writing dark and bitter stories, stories populated by ghosts and dead narrators with predictable endings of death and destruction,'' writes the alter ego of the real-life Mandanipour, a Harvard visiting scholar and former writing fellow at Brown.
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