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My Uncle Napoleon: A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – April 11, 2006
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Early in World War II, the unnamed 15-year-old narrator becomes infatuated with his first cousin Layli, the daughter of the narrator's uncle, derisively nicknamed Napoleon for constantly voicing admiration for the French general. At a family gathering, the narrator's father vents annoyance with Uncle Napoleon's unending inflation of his military record (Uncle Napoleon's four-man gendarmerie squad over the years had been transformed into dozens of army battalions thwarting the plans of British imperialism). For his father's offense, the narrator is banned from seeing his beloved Layli, who Uncle Napoleon betrothes to the narrator's horse-faced cousin Puri. The narrator turns to his cousin Asadollah, a bon vivant and womanizer extraordinaire, for advice in stopping the wedding and winning Layli. The action builds to a climax when the British occupy Tehran.
The results . . . well, I won't give it away. But if you like laugh-out-loud farce mixed with sharp-eyed satire, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It belongs on a very short list of comic masterpieces of world literature
My Uncle Napoleon gives a portrayal of Iran that is very different from what is provided by the mainstream press. While the aristocratic characters belong to a place and time that is long gone, the mannerisms and character types satirized in the book are still present to some degree in many Iranians.
Read this book if you want a good laugh or a glimpse of Iranian culture you could not otherwise get.
This compassionate and sensual work, of course, was banned in 1979 by the Mullahs, who resemble the hard-nosed paranoid Uncle Napoleon, blaming all the world's evils on one source (in their case, America). What a shame to outlaw this marvelously open and universal work. But what a gift the English translator, Dick Davis, has given the English-speaking world by making this work accessible to us.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“One hot summer day I fell in love”. So begins this fabulous book. It is all in one love story, comedy, a satire and much more. Read morePublished 5 days ago by gerardpeter
Davis' translation is well managed, carefully considered, and captures the energy and spirit of the original. It is an insightful view of an adolescent's coming of age in Iran.Published 7 months ago by Thomas
Having read the original work in Persian, I'd say this is definitely not the best translation. The translation is robotic and ruins the comedic sentence structure or the original... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mary
This is wonderfully interesting family life in pre-revolutionary Teheran. Every member of the family is unique and the interactions between them can be hilarious. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joan E. Davis
I found it to be a very meaningful translation. It captured the spirit of the original language.Published 13 months ago by Ira Afari
This was the first piece of modern Persian literature I put my hands on, at the behest of some enthusiastic Iranian friends, and I have to say that my impressions are lukewarm. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nino Correa