Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran by Simin Daneshvar
Blurb from Goodreads
Savushun chronicles the life of a Persian family during the Allied occupation of Iran during World War II. It is set in Shiraz, a town which evokes images of Persepolis and pre-Islamic monuments, the great poets, the shrines, Sufis, and nomadic tribes within a historical web of the interests, privilege and influence of foreign powers; corruption, incompetence and arrogance of persons in authority; the paternalistic landowner-peasant relationship; tribalism; and the fear of famine. The story is seen through the eyes of Zari, a young wife and mother, who copes with her idealistic and uncompromising husband while struggling with her desire for traditional family life and her need for individual identity.
Daneshvar’s style is both sensitive and imaginative, while following cultural themes and metaphors. Within basic Iranian paradigms, the characters play out the roles inherent in their personalities. While Savushun is a unique piece of literature that transcends the boundaries of the historical community in which it was written, it is also the best single work for understanding modern Iran. Although written prior to the Islamic Revolution, it brilliantly portrays the social and historical forces that gave pre-revolutionary Iran its characteristic hopelessness and emerging desperation so inadequately understood by outsiders.
Why I Want To Read It
Happy first day of the week everyone! Just like that, we are nearly done with August; today is the second to the last Monday of the ghost month. Anyway, I hope you had or are having a great month. I can’t believe that it is nearly September. I hope that the rest of the year will be filled with nothing but blessings. In the Philippines, September only means one thing. The country’s long Christmas season will officially commence. Malls and radios will start playing Christmas songs. Christmas shops will be doubling their production. Everyone will start wiping the dust off of their decorations. Anyway, I hope that you are all doing well and are in a good state of health, both in mind and body. I hope that all that we’ve worked hard for during the year will be repaid. However, my fervent wish is for COVID-19 and monkeypox to be contained. With this, I implore everyone to be diligent in observing minimum health protocols.
To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. For August, I am traveling across the Asian continent with a selection of Asian literary works; this is after I have spent a month immersing myself in the works of Japanese literature. Asian literature is as vast as the continent, and as diverse as well. As such, there are parts of Asian literature I have barely ventured to. With this, I am again dedicating an entire month to works of Asian literature. I am nearly done with Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain, my first novel by the first Chinese Nobel Laureate in Literature. To align with this month’s theme, I have been featuring works of Asian literature in my Goodreads Monday updates. For this week, I am featuring Iranian writer Simin Daneshvar’s Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran.
If my memory serves me right, I have, so far, read only two works of Iranian writers: Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis and Shahrnush Parsipur’s Women Without Men. Despite my limited foray into Iranian literature, these two books left a deep impression on me which made me want to explore Iranian literature further. One of the names that I encountered while looking for reading recommendations was Simin Dāneshvar (Persian: سیمین دانشور). Oh, I just learned that Dāneshvar is widely recognized as the first major Iranian female novelist. Not only that, she also published the first short story collection by a woman in Iran. She achieved this feat when she was just 27 years of age.
Meanwhile, Savušun (also spelled Savushun, Persian: سووشون), published in 1969, was considered the first novel in Persian written by a female author. Centered around the story of a landowning family in her hometown Shiraz, Savušun is one of the bestselling Persian novels. It has also received acclaim beyond Iran. It was even translated into English and at least 16 other languages. What further piqued my interest is the subject of the novel. It grappled with the memories of the occupation of Iran by outside political powers during the Second World War. This is a deviation from the typical Second World War narrative I have encountered. It is a rarity to encounter a story about how the war impacted other countries outside of Europe and the Asia Pacific. The novel, I surmise, will provide me an interesting historical dimension but first, I must obtain a copy of the book.
How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Iranian/Persian literature you want to recommend? Do drop it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday and, as always, happy reading!