Shortlisted last year and deservedly so for The International Booker Prize, Shokoofeh Azar’s novel set during the decade following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, narrated by ghost of a young girl whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran due to political violence.
Ghosts, jinns, various mythical Iranian creatures intervene in this incredibly poetic magical realist novel.
I found it incredibly heart rending story of a family atomised by revolution but still bound together. I just couldn’t let go these characters which makes it a very visceral read.
What made me want to complete this powerful story was through the prose of the young girl Bahar and how she observes everyone around. Her ghostly presence yet recognisable early in the novel made this novel something beyond beautiful.
And most importantly why this work speaks to the English reader is all because of an anonymous translator, who made this novel accessible to us.
THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE GREENGAGE TREE by Shokoofeh Azar, Translated by Anonymous. Europa Editions