A gripping tale set amid the tumultous history of 20th-century Iran by the bestselling author of The House of the Mosque
On a holy mountain in the depths of Persia there is a cave with a mysterious cuneiform carving deep inside it. Aga Akbar, a deaf-mute boy from the mountain, develops his own private script from these symbols and writes passionately of his life, his family and his efforts to make sense of the changes the twentieth century brings to his country.
Exiled in Holland a generation later, Akbar’s son Ishmael struggles to decipher the notebook, reflecting on how his own political activities have forced him to flee his country and abandon his family. As he gets closer to the heart of his father’s story, he unravels the intricate tale of how the silent world of a village carpet-mender was forced to give way to one where the increasingly hostile environment of modern Iran has brought the family both love and sacrifice.
“Beautifully evoked in often touching and amusing detail, My Father’s Notebook is an intriguing, complex and often playful novel that deserves attention”
scotland On Sunday
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“With seamlessly interwoven quotations from Persian and Dutch literature, deft storytelling and affectionate humour, he offers the reader buoyancy as well as weight. My Father’s Notebook is a gift to English readers”
“A moving elegy for a lost father and homeland, but also a voice raised against all forms of repression… My Father’s Notebook reads like a detective story: information is withheld so that we gradually discover the background to Ishmael’s exile.”
“This poignant, affectionate and beautifully told tale reflects a longing for a lost homeland”
Kader Abdolah, (a pen name created in memoriam to friends who died under the persecution of the current Iranian regime) was born in Iran in 1954. While a student of physics in Tehran, he joined a secret leftist party that fought against the dictatorship of the shah and the subsequent dictatorship of the ayatollahs. Abdolah wrote for an illegal journal and clandestinely published two books in Iran. In 1988, at the invitation of the United Nations, he arrived in the Netherlands as a political refugee. He now writes in Dutch and is the author of three novels, including My Father’s Notebook, and two collections of short stories, as well as works of non-fiction.