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The Colonel. by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi Paperback – 2011

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It's a pitch black, rainy night in a small Iranian town. Inside his house the Colonel is immersed in thought. Memories are storming in. Memories of his wife. Memories of the great patriots of the past, all of them assassinated or executed. Memories of his children, who had joined the different factions of the 1979 revolution. There is a knock on the door. Two young policemen have come to summon the Colonel to collect the tortured body of his youngest daughter and bury her before sunrise. The Islamic Revolution, like every other revolution in history, is devouring its own children. And whose fault is that? This shocking diatribe against the failures of the Iranian left over the last fifty years does not leave one taboo unbroken.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Pub. (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906598894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906598891
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,547,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read THE COLONEL after having read a review recently in the "New York Times" mostly because I am always intrigued when works of fiction are suppressed and also know practically nothing about modern Iran. (I believe I have only read one other book on the subject, Azar Nafisi's fantastic nonfiction book READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN.) According to the NYT review and as I later read in the extensive Afterward to the novel provided by the translator Tom Patterdale, the Iranian Mahmoud Dowlatabadi's novel that he worked on for over twenty years has yet to be published in his native land. In the words of Patterdale: "The descriptions of torture are taken from the experiences of the author himself, or from those of his friends. It comes as no surprise to learn that THE COLONEL has never appeared in its original language in the author's native country. The manuscript remains In the hands of the censor, who has demanded a number of deletions and revisions, which the author has refused to make."

Although reading this rather short (220 pages) novel takes some effort, the results are worth your trouble. For example, the story does not unfold in a linear manner and is told through a third person narrator with juxtapositions of the un-named colonel's voice in italics. Patterdale also states that while Dowlatabadi is essentially self-educated that he has read widely including the "great Persian poets like Hafiz and Rumi." One wonders if he is also influenced by the South American giants of magic realism since he uses that technique in this novel. The passage where his dead wife Forouz--how she met her death is one of the many interesting paradoxes of this complex novel-- prepares the body of the colonel's and her fourteen-year-old daughter Parvaneh for burial is a brilliant and beautiful example.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Masoud Sadighpour on September 23, 2012
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Mr. Dowlatabadi in his interview said that he was crushed under the power of sadness he was describing in this novel, which is true. Very powerful and sad story about few generation who was crushed by revolution in Iran.
I lived in that circumstances and witnessed that era, and this novel brought back all that memories again.
This is a story about "a colonel" who admires "The Colonel" who is a historic revolutionary figure in recent history of Iran who was killed by central government. Our "colonel" the central figure has several children who in different ways "swallowed" by revolution.
He describes the brutal circumstances very vividly.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Rahimparast on December 7, 2011
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Like his other books, Mahmood D.'s 'colonel' is rivetting and spell binding in the authors's power of description and creation of his lead personality, and then the development of the plot. Can't wait to see his next book. Best wishes for the author.
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