These six vibrant stories by Iranian novelist Daneshvar (Savushun) chronicle the vicissitudes of life-its horror, unfairness, humor and fleeting beauty. There is the domestic tragedy of "A City Like Paradise," which tells of a black servant cudgeled and thrown out by her employer, who is jealous of her bonds with household members; the tart comedy of "Anis," about a woman who, as she shuttles from one husband to the next, swings from subservience to fervid religiosity to urbane sophistication; the social commentary of "Potshards," describing a patronizing, elderly white woman's impromptu attempt to adopt a village orphan. Born in 1921, Daneshvar portrays a world full of injustices and cruel surprises redeemed by hope and acts of kindness, such as a midwife's clandestine visit to save the life of an ungrateful pregnant woman ("Childbirth"). In the exuberant, virtuoso title story, a sea captain born in Madras, shipwrecked off Africa, recalls his smuggling exploits, his life in the Persian Gulf and the wife and daughter he forced into prostitution and then abandoned; half-delirious, he undergoes an exorcism to free himself of possession by a mermaid and then dictates his vision of a world free from tyranny and sorrow.
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A veritable tour de force fusion of actuality, fantasy, and mystical transport.…Reveals Daneshvar at her most gifted, as an innovative writer of the highest order in the long history of Persian literature. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies --International Journal of Middle East Studies
These six vibrant stories chronicle the vicissitudes of life-its horror, unfairness, humor and fleeting beauty.…Daneshvar portrays a world full of injustices and cruel surprises redeemed by hope and acts of kindness. Publishers Weekly --Publishers Weekly