cover image Tehran at Twilight

Tehran at Twilight

Salar Abdoh. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61775-292-6

Abdoh (Opium) returns to his native Iran and adopted New York in a novel about two Iranian-American friends on opposite sides of the political spectrum. After years spent chasing a Ph.D. studying Sufi mystics and serving as an interpreter for one of America’s embedded journalists during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Reza Malek accepts a cushy teaching job at a college in Harlem, far from the fray. But when Sina, his reactionary boyhood friend, calls in a favor from Tehran and asks Malek to serve as the legal executor of Sina’s vast estate. Malek journeys back to his childhood home to uphold his end of the bargain. Soon Malek is up to his eyeballs in shady, and potentially life-threatening, dealings, and finds himself being shadowed by a double (or possibly even triple) agent named Fani with an interest in Sina’s real estate holdings. Further complicating matters is a reunion with his long-lost mother who wishes to emigrate to the United States, but is on an Iranian government watch-list. Abdoh paints a gripping portrait of a nation awash in violence and crippled by corruption. He also uses Malek’s safe life in New York—steeped in stodgy, out-of-touch academia and hemmed in by a typically apathetic American worldview—as an effective counterpoint to the mayhem in the Middle East. Malek’s noble quest to do what’s morally right despite taxing circumstances is captivating. (Oct.)