Posted on 18th October 2010

By Tessa Hadley, Novelist

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Fiction Uncovered by… Tessa Hadley, novelist

There’s a superb novel by an Iranian writer, Dalia Sofer (writing in English), called The Septembers of Shiraz (2007), which I read recently. It seemed to me world class, a rare marriage of delicate perception, pure authentic language clear as water, fine-tuned exact original vision — and a huge, urgent subject. A privileged Iranian-Jewish family in the 1980s falls foul of the new regime. So many astute, shattering scenes, wonderfully unsentimental and never over-orchestrated or cliched.

For instance, a superb study of the shifting relations between the sophisticated wife, seeking her jeweller-husband out in prison, and the uneducated servant who has always been with the family. The servant has mixed feelings about the changes the revolutionaries promise. Perhaps there’s something in what they say? Note-perfect, clear-eyed, transforming one’s idea of the place and the moment, and of everything. So un-obvious, so terrible. 


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