Translated from: English
Authors: Abdoh, Salar
Translated by: Šarkovas, Vitalijus
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2014
Publisher: Versus aureus
“Tehran at twillight“ is a book about finding one’s place in complicated circumstances, difficult or sometimes impossible adaptation to a changed situation and trying to start a new life in a foreign and very different country. The book presents an unpolished, uneasy, dangerous, full of corruption and a hidden criminal world story of the mysterious Iran, and how it has affected the current situation of the country’s people. The characters of the book must constantly make decisions – about their values, about the sake of sacrifice in the name of friendship, about security, and often their decisions in this environment determine their fate.
The books centers around the story of Malek, a lecturer at an American university who, asked by his best friend Sina, decides to return to his native Tehran. The plot of the book is intertwined with the peripeties of life of these two friends, friendship, contradictions and the desire to help each other. They share the same past – birth and life in Tehran, from which they fled with their parents after the onset of the revolution and the persecution of the Islamic State.
These men live their new lives differently. Sina is unable to adjust to life in America and longs for a rich life in Tehran, so he decides to return there and even join the Islamic State and KAF, even though the group has his own father on their blacklist. After not being able to fit into the American lifestyle, Tehran for Sina becomes like water to a fish, but also reveals his various sides as an Easterner, finding no place and certainty anywhere.
However, Malek’s life has turned in a slightly different direction. After arriving in America, he graduates, writes a book, and becomes a lecturer at one of America’s best Universities, but inside he also feels the dilemma of where he belongs and what his true identity is. Having worked as a journalist in the Middle East for some time, he hesitates to return there, but friendship, and perhaps curiosity, returns Malek to Tehran again. Unfortunately, when he arrives here, he receives an offer to contribute to the risky game of an old friend who has joined a militarized group. Interweaving the dramas of these men and other completely different people with no sense of home, the book touches on a variety of topics: Iranian reality, repression, corruption, betrayal, conscience, parent-child relations, constant persecution, and trying to adapt to the rules of an unstable and ever-changing world.
The author of the book also discusses the dilemma of the justice of American wars, the methods of warfare, and the morality of war in a foreign country in general. Also, through Malek’s work experience as a journalist, the author reveals the principles of this profession, which are not always honest and seek only to inform people. The book provides an opportunity to try to answer the question of why Muslims are embroiled in these extremes, why the world is intimidated by terrorists, and while there is no clear answer, the dark side of Tehran formed in the book defines at least some aspects. However, the main idea of the book is a man’s attempt to adapt to complex historical events, the change in one’s morals, and the perception of one’s values, which determine their destiny.
Salar Abdoh is a famous American essayist, writer, journalist of Iranian origin, currently living in the United States, often describing his homeland in his works, from which he was forced to flee as a teenager. His essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, BOMB, Callaloo, Guernica, and on the BBC. He is the recipient of the NYFA Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts award and he is the editor of Tehran Noir.