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The Blind Owl Paperback – January 11, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802131808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802131805
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Persian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sadegh Hedayat was born in Teheran in 1903, of an aristocratic family, and spent most of his life there. In 1951, during a stay in Paris, Hedayat committed suicide. Recognised as the outstanding Persian writer of the century, Hedayat is generally credited with having brought his country's language and literature into the mainstream of contemporary writing. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys magical realism.
Ella
Hedayat had written this book vividly as if he was the narrator.
cYRUS
If you are looking for something easy to read, skip this book.
"azmatan"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By sincerly bored & attempting to kill a too hot afternoon on December 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
i just finished reading the blind owl, and it IS one of the best books i've ever read. the first section is very dark and symbolic and contains a lot of repetitions - a picture within a picture within a picture. i rather wish the book had contained more chapters like this. it was too wonderful for words. the second section detailed the unraveling of the main character in his daily tangible life: his feverish confinement to his room, his growing anxiety, his sense of pervasive and impending doom, which extended beyond himself to the whole of mankind and nature. unfortunately, since my background on iran and ancient persia is somewhat wanting, i think i missed much of the historical symbolism that other readers have mentioned, and had swallowed it mostly as a psychological novel. i'm going to reread it and also look for some kind of a supplement. read this book!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on September 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Readers have compared this classic modern Persian novel to the works of Poe's fevered imagination. Its hero is delusional, obsessed, and maybe totally mad. The narrative is dream-like in structure, which is to say layered, circular, and driven by its own demented logic.

If that's not enough, the far-from-reliable narrator has fiercely psychotic conflicts regarding women. The author may well be commenting on the deep divisions between men and women in his culture, where attraction is balanced against profound distrust. His narrator is either idealizing women or portraying them as evil incarnate.

Meanwhile, there are episodes of black comedy, one involving identical twin men locked in a room with a cobra. And the cycling and recycling of nightmarish images, each as if occurring for the first time, offers an ironic motif of déjà vu. Recommended to lovers of the surreal who enjoy puzzling over the meanings of dreams, whether personal or effusions of the collective unconscious.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By N. Jacobs on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An Persian friend reccommended this book to me, and managed to read it all in one sitting. It was such a quick, compelling read, with so much going on that you feel like you are running through a sandstorm. I have NEVER read a description of an insane mind as well written as this. Poe, Lovecraft, and Dostoeyevsky, I would say, have written excellent descriptions of insane minds, but this is by far the best. By the way, Lovecraft and Dostoyevsky are my two favorite authors.
The passage where the narrator describes his dream woman as an angel, and describes the beauty of her eyes is definatly the most beautiful passage I have ever read. Likewise, his descriptions of the more gruesome scenes are really quite disgusting.
Hedayat really wrote a masterpiece here. I would highly reccomend it to people who enjoy the authors I have previously mentioned. Its a great book, with so many layers, and so many different ways to interpret what's going on. In the end, even I was unable to figure out what the truth of the matter really was. Absolutely fascinating.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J from NY VINE VOICE on June 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't relate at all to the reviewer who compared reading this book to pulling teeth. It is strange and slightly demented, but these qualities seem only to add to the overall quality. If one were to be in a peculiar state of mind and smoke opium, the result would be something like this. The protagonist is a sick, solitary misanthrope who suffers from what seem to be hallucinations of an old man with a turban with a horrifying laugh (this is repeated over and over again, like some kind of mantra) and a beautiful woman our anti-hero is fixated on. He persistently refers to his wife as "the bitch", but seems to love her dearly despite her infidelity and disdain of him. Hedayat's character is both self loathing and world loathing, preferring to his hypnagogic visions and sickly existence to 'real' life. He no longer makes distinctions between sanity and insanity. He finds a woman's body chopped up (it seems) and does not tell the police. By the end of this novel, really a series of incomprehensible happenings spliced with some bitter comments on humanity, we have come to understand him as a lucid but self divided man losing his mind. This is a must.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian H. Appleton on December 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Review by Brian H. Appleton, [...] of:

The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

The story is like an opium dream in which the reader drifts along with the writer in and out of awake and dreaming with recurring themes and symbols like an intoxicated mind trying to keep hold of its tenuous grasp on reality. There is the blue morning glory flower, the flower-vase of Rhages, kisses with the bitter taste of the green stub end of the cucumber, the smell of champac perfume, the wine bottle with the cobra venom that he can't get rid of like a boomerang, the singing drunken policemen passing by the street below, the bone handled butcher knife that he can't get rid of like a boomerang, the butcher cutting up sheep carcasses, the coughing horses with dead sheep slung over their backs, these images keep recurring in different circumstances like a floating mirage. His imagery is at times stunningly beautiful like his simple description of a row of dark shadowy trees along a road in the night which look like they are all holding hands so as not to fall down on a slippery slope. The rows of strange and menacing looking houses of geometric shapes like cones and prisms that recur as in a dream sequence; if it were made into a film it would be reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman's "Seventh Seal."

The hearse driver and the odds and ends man with his head scarf and hideous laughter "of a quality that make the hairs on one's body stand on end," and the narrator himself seem to at times be different people and at other times they are one and the same. In the end we don't know if the wife has committed adultery or not with one or with many or only with the old odds and ends man or if in fact that was really the narrator and that this is all his imagined paranoia.
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