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The House of the Mosque Paperback – March 15, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for My Father's Notebook: 'A moving elegy for a lost father and homeland, but also a voice raised against all forms of repression... My Father's Notebook reads like a detective story: information is withheld so that we gradually discover the background to Ishmael's exile.' Guardian

About the Author

Kader Abdolah (a pen name created in memoriam to friends who died under the persecution of the current Iranian regime) was born in Iran in 1954. While a student of physics in Tehran, he joined a secret leftist party that fought against the dictatorship of the shah and the subsequent dictatorship of the ayatollahs, writing for an illegal journal and clandestinely publishing two books in Iran. In 1988, at the invitation of the UN, he arrived in the Netherlands as a political refugee. He now writes in Dutch and is the author of My Father's Notebook. In 2008 he was honored with Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Embassy in The Hague.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate UK (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184767240X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847672407
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,275,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This eerily true to life story is well written. I applaud the author for the depth of his imaginative mind, which is revealing in this story. He drew the reader into the story from the opening chapter all the way to the end.The descriptions are very vivid and gives the reader a sense of the setting that is almost real.Its depiction of religion in the way some people apply it in the every day lives of man is very revealing, bringing to mind a description I read in The Union Muzhik. The author did a great job at characterization. The compelling plot added further credibility to the quality of the story and the pacing made it a page-turner. After also reading Disciples of Fortune, I now have deep respect for authors who take us to unfamiliar settings and implant us there to the point where we relate to their stories and the characters as if we were there when everything was happening. This is a story that will strike a chord with a broad readership.
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I often listen to ABC radio, book reviews and this little gem came up.

I was interested to know how the Moslem think, what sort of home life they have and just how different their culture is. This book is a good insight. It is written in the era of the '60's up to and including the time of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It takes us through this era and the changes that take place from the time of Persia under the Shah to an Islamic Republic under Khomeini by following a family's life. I wanted a greater understanding of the Moslem way of life and this book was able to do that for me.
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Format: Paperback
In the house of the mosque, located in Senejan, Iran, the family of Aqa Jaan has lived for eight centuries. The house is currently occupied by the families of Aqa Jaan, a merchant who is the head of the city's bazaar; Alsaberi; the imam of the mosque and Aqa Shoja, the mosque's muezzin. The carpets woven by the family firm are renowned for their beauty, their patterns are drawn from the plumage of birds Aqa Jaan's wife traps on the roof of the house. This is the order of things in Senejan, in 1969: a rich past continuing into the future. The grandmothers sweep the floors each morning, and dream of travelling to Mecca. Sadiq is waiting for a suitor to knock on the door to seek her hand in marriage. In the first half of this novel, the worlds of Aqa Jaan and his family members are neatly ordered.

Except, things start changing. Aqa Jaan's nephew Shahbal, with permission, smuggles a television into the house so that Aqa Jaan and the imam can watch the moon landing. The nephew argues that the imam needs to keep in touch with the world, even if those landing on the moon are the Americans, and a television is part of the suspect civilization that the Shah is imposing on his people.

In the second half of the novel, the consequences of political unrest in Iran, both before and after the revolution of 1978-79 are being felt. Small changes at first, but then the fall of the Shah and the return of the Ayatollah destroy the established order of the house of the mosque. The world turns upside down: Shahbal backs the Islamic revolution, while Aqa Jaan's other nephew, Nosrat, a westernised film-maker, becomes a member of Khomeini's inner circle. Nothing seems predictable.

This is a complex novel, but not difficult to read.
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Format: Paperback
As an Iranian, who is raised in a modern family in Tehran, I am really impressed!
Part of book is not my story, but the story of old fashioned family in a small religious town. Very easy to follow (at least for me as an Iranian girl) and many of the things that happens in the book, has happened in Iran. I, myself think it was somhow a true story! I can imagine myself in the place.
It shows how religion is being paled since Islamic revolousion in Iran.
It shows why people like me moved from country and why I am so against any religion!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just loved this book from start to finish. Wonderful character building. I felt I was living in the house with the family. It gave me a great understanding of the life in Iran and the (tragic)changes brought about in the aftermath of the downfall of the shah. An excellent read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The best thing about this book was that it transported me to Iran and a Muslim world I knew very little about. The story held my interest and whet my appetite for wider, deeper understanding of Iranian culture.
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Format: Paperback
I am hesitant to write a review about this book. I want to tell you why I love it so much, but that would mean spoiling bits and pieces of the plot. By doing so, I feel I would unravel the perfectly woven fabric of this great novel that make it such a worthwhile experience. I will try nonetheless, because I feel this novel (and the writer) deserve it so much.

Huis van de moskee (or House of the Mosque as it is called in English) is not just about the mosque or about islam. It is a story about the Iranian people during the times of the pro-american Sjah (king), the extremist regime of ayatollah Komeini and the years that followed thereafter. It is a beautifully written book about love, about life, about culture and religion and about humanity, or the lack thereof.

In 2005, this book was voted the second best book ever in Dutch literature, after De ontdekking van de hemel (The discovery of heaven) by Harry Mulisch, by the Dutch critics and readers. I have read both and I can only say this: Het huis van de moskee is the most intense book I have read in my native language. I loved every letter of it. I was swept away to another land, with another culture and I felt I was part of it. It felt like I breathed the same air as the Iranian people, saw the mosque as they did, attended the morning and evening prayers at the mosque and listened to the imams as they preached words of god, words of peace and words of hate. It felt like I too, was part of the struggles that ensued and the hardships these people endured. And in the end, the final 3 pages of the book, I was shocked by the letter that a man called Aga Djan got from a boy named Shahbal whom he had not heard from in years. I do not want to discover heaven, I want to live in the house of the mosque.
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