Pilgrims Rules of Etiquette

Taghi Modarressi, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (279p) ISBN 978-0-385-23879-3
Iranian-born Modarressi's second novel (after The Book of Absent People ) is distinguished by clear, precise and beautiful tone and style, db resonant with meaning. The narrative involves us not only in present-day Teheran but also in its past, its national psychology and the unexpected ways its ancient history survives. The reader follows retired cultural historian Hadi Besharat about the city during a few days in the winter of 1983 when one of his young students is killed in the Iran-Iraq war. The event completes the disorientation that has come upon Hadi not only with age but also with the pressures of living under the fundamentalist regime. His wife Farangu, an actress who, like all women, is no longer permitted to appear on stage, suffers in her own way, as do their neighbors, a retired general, an engineer, a businessman and the dead student's girlfriend, who is now hanging on to Hadi. Hadi's relations with them and his wanderings and return (both physical and psychological) are woven into a subtly spiced, satisfying brewhave changed metaphor to agree with bittersweet (taste) sss with a bittersweet ending. None of it is overtly sociological or political, and all of it is funny and sad and quite wonderful. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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