cover image Daneshvar's Playhouse

Daneshvar's Playhouse

Simin Daneshvar, Simin Danishvar. Mage Publishers, $22 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-934211-19-2

In five intriguing stories, the formal detachment of Daneshvar's prose reinforces her subtle revelation of repressive features in Iranian society. The author, one of the few well-known women writers in Iran, is a feminist opposed to both political tyranny and religious fanaticism, themes obliquely indicated here. These seemingly simple stories disclose a rich culture in a time of ferment and change, of women in chadors , held in contempt by the men who control their lives. ``Vakil Bazaar'' seems innocent enough, an everyday tale of an upper-class child let loose in the bazaar while her nanny flirts with a shopkeeper. By the end, with the little girl lost and the nanny passively peering around, the reader is sure that the child will never be found, and nobody will care. In ``To Whom Can I Say Hello?,'' a woman alternates between mourning the loss of her lover and her job and worrying over her daughter, whose brutish husband has denied his mother-in-law access to his house. The moving ``Loss of Jalal'' is a nonfiction account of the death of the author's husband, a noted writer. This volume is a valuable addition to our knowledge of Persian culture and the political complexities of modern Iran. (Oct.)