Joubin, Rebecca (translator) Afsaneh, A Novel from Iran
Bethesda, MD Ibex Publishers 2013 1588140954 / 978-1-58814-095-1 Joubin, Rebecca Softcover English 212 5˝ x 8˝ inches
The truth always loses itself among memories. The truth can be lost as though it never existed. Not on the ground or anywhere else. The difference between a historical event and an insignificant happening in the life of an individual is that the historical event has witnesses who can differentiate the truth from the fiction.
One evening, thirty year old Afsaneh Sarboland, dressed only in a thin orange dress, flees her husband and home and attempts to create a new life. In the story, Afsaneh, a single writer, struggles to carve a space for herself in the chaotic society that has been ravaged by the scars of war. Childhood tragedies, the devastations of war, and an abusive husband have combined to drive her to madness. Tainted by the shame of being alone in that night that she cannot remember, she begins to unravel, mixing the present with memories of the past. Afsaneh is based on the author’s life as a nurse on the graveyard shift in the early eighties and her experiences on the front during the Iran-Iraq war. Magical realism and the bitter realities of contemporary Iran are intertwined. Ravanipur pushes the boundaries of temporal space, disrupting the notion of traditional textual layouts.
MONIRU RAVANIPUR was born in 1952 into a large family in Jofreh, a small village in Southern Iran.. A prolific writer of fiction, she is one of the most radical and stylistically revolutionary voices in Persian literature today. The Iranian government has reacted against her controversial work by banning reproductions since 2006. Her boldness, subversiveness, and anti-orthodoxy emanates not from her political views by from her narrative experimentation, her unsentimental exploration of mental instability, and her unrelenting fascination with spirits, ogres, and demons. In addition to her novels and short story collections, Ravanupur has written a compilation of southern Iranian legends and beliefs that was published in 1989. She has also compiled children’s stories based off her grandmother’s stories from her youth. Her books have been banned in Iran since 2006.
REBECCA JOUBIN is an Iranian-American scholar who received her PhD from the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Columbia University in 2004. She lived in Damascus where she conducted research on Syrian and Iraqi culture before starting as Assistant Professor and Chair of Arab Studies at Davidson College during the fall of 2009. Her articles in Arabic and English have been published in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Arab Studies Journal, Radical Society, The Cairo Times, al-Kifa al-Arabi, and al-Mada. She teaches elementary, intermediate, as well as advanced Arabic courses on Syrian literature, drama, and film, with an emphasis on gender and politics. She has also teaches an independent study on Iranian literature and art. This is her third book.