Touba and the Meaning of the Night

by Parsipur, Shahrnush

Alone and impoverished, as the prince’s dynasty is displaced by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s, she weaves carpets to make money, cares for her children and communes with the ghost of a dead young girl, killed when her shameful pregnancy was discovered by her family, who is buried under a tree in her courtyard. As she grows older, though told that women should remain apolitical, Touba is intrigued by politics and beset by family dramas including abortion, secret marriage, murder and extremism intervene. “Initially published in Iran in 1989, this ground-breaking novel – which juxtaposes reality and mysticism, becoming especially fantastical toward the book’s conclusion – was quickly banned by the Islamic Republic.” – “Publisher’s Weekly” (starred review).