To Keep the Sun Alive

Rabeah Ghaffari. Catapult, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-948226-09-7
A family whose members hold varying loyalties shapes Ghaffari’s evocative debut set during the Iranian Revolution. Akbar, a retired judge, and his wife, Bibi, invite their extended family for leisurely lunches at their orchard in Naishapur. Akbar’s brother Habib is a mullah who’s fond of his own voice and increasingly passionate about the need for religious cleansing. His widower nephew, Shazdehpoor, bristles at Iran’s provincialism and yearns for the charms of Europe. His two sons reject their father’s intent fastidiousness: Jamsheed through opium addiction and Madjid through his heady love affair with Nasreen. As tensions rise, the family focuses more on quotidian challenges: Bibi’s friendship with an elderly midwife, the buried disappointments of marriage, servant Mirza’s propensity for forbidden alcohol, and Bibi’s adopted son Jafar’s extreme fondness for the chickens they raise. When the revolution finally arrives, shocking, sudden violence sweeps up the family with tragic results. Ghaffari delves into her characters with sensitivity for their positions and differences. Readers will savor the emotional depth of one family’s experience of the terrifying effects of religious fundamentalism and political instability. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-982601-56-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-982601-57-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-982601-58-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-982621-00-1
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