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The Colonel: A Novel Paperback – May 8, 2012
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"Yes, it's a good book."
—Vice-chairman of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (although the book is still unavailable in Iran) in the New York Times
“Dowlatabadi combines the poetic tradition of his culture with the direct and unembellished everyday speech of the villages. With this highly topical new novel Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Iran’s most important novelist, sheds light on the upheavals, which haunts his country until today.”
—Man Asian Literary Prize nomination citation
“[A] masterpiece." —Quarterly Conversation
"A demanding and richly composed book by a novelist who stands apart."—Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Dowlatabadi draws a detailed, realist picture of Iranian life, especially that of the rural poor, in language that is complex and lyrical, rather than simplistic." —The Financial Times
"The Colonel is a remarkable and important book ... a masterpiece." —The Globe and Mail
"The nature of authoritarians is not to learn from mistakes but to attempt to erase them. The Colonel is a very thorough accounting of those mistakes, and of their cost, and a demonstration of the necessity, for humanity’s sake, of overcoming them." —The Rumpus
"Iran's greatest writer."—The Millions
“It’s about time everyone even remotely interested in Iran read this novel.”
"An affecting and beautiful novel." —The Literary Review
" ... Instructive ... a stirring tale replete with the hideous viscera of violent confrontation."
“An outstanding master achievement.”—Der Spiegel
“The Colonel is a page-turning panorama of Iranian mental anguish, producing visions and nightmares like dark exotic blossoms.”
—Neue Zurcher Zeitung
“This novel has what it takes to become a strong and irresistible window into Iran.”—Die Zeit
“…a very powerful work."—Michael Orthofer, The Complete Review
“Because of its honesty and indeed brutal clarity of language the novel has so far not been published in its original language, Persian…[an] honest and truly literary account.”
Praise for Missing Soluch
“Beautifully and incisively rendered, and imbued throughout with hope.”—Publishers Weekly
“There are some brilliantly tough pieces of writing…[The original’s] vigour comes through in translation.”—Times Literary Supplement
“Brings East of Eden to mind… Dowlatabadi knows a world that has seldom overlapped with the modern novel."—The New York Sun
"Dowlatabadi has created a masterpiece."—Words Without Borders
About the Author
Born in 1940 in a remote farming region of Iran, the son of a shoemaker, his early life and teens were spent as an agricultural day laborer until he made his way to Tehran, where he started working in the theater and began writing plays, stories and novels. He is the author Missing Soluch, published by Melville House and his first work to be translated into English, and a 10-book portrait of Iranian village life, Kelidar. The Colonel has been shortlisted for the Haus der Kulturen Berlin International Literary Award and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.
Top Customer Reviews
The story unfolds in flashbacks, internal dialogs and nightmarish visions as the protagonist, "the Colonel" attempts to retrieve the body of his youngest daughter who has been tortured then hung for passing out leaflets against the regime. This is but a small tip of the iceberg of the horrors visited upon the Colonel and all five of his children. The novel switches views between the Colonel and his eldest son, Amir, who fought as a communist in the revolution, only to see his friends and comrades purged as the Islamists consolidated power leaving Amir guilt-ridden and on the brink of suicide.
The title "The Colonel" refers not only to the protagonist, who was an officer in the Shah's army (and a bit of a madman who murders his wife in a drunken rage), but also to a painting of the protagonist's hero, Colonel Mahhamad-Taqi Khan Pesayn, a famous Iranian nationalist from the early 20th century, and yet another victim of another Iranian regime. The protagonist `colonel' (always lowercase) has many conversations and confessions with "The Colonel" hanging on his wall. This can be a bit confusing at times, but again, this is a story of madness so confusion comes with the territory.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really wanted to like this book, mainly because the majority of the writing about Iran is in the form of autobiographies and personal histories. Read morePublished on April 19, 2013 by MxMz
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... Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by Foster Corbin
Amazing book. I enjoyed it. Different angel to look at revolution and what comes with it.
I totaly recomand the book.