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Novelist Sheds Light on Iranians' Psyche


In this novel about the various paths we choose to take due to interruptions in our everyday lives, Farzin, a gay man living in Tehran, finds himself accused of a crime he has not committed. However, he knows that if he tells the "whole truth and nothing but the truth" to the authorities, he will be more severely punished for his sexual preference than for the crime for which he is being held responsible.

In the larger picture, Interruptions is an intimate look at the interrupted psyche of a nation whose dreams of freedom and justice have repeatedly been thwarted. The author offers a fresh and dynamic take on Iranian society and its complex rituals. The political upheavals in a country dominated by fanatics are the backdrop to Massud Alemi's novel, where the rich history of Farzin's family is interwoven with the misfortunes of a nation.


Farzin Rouhani, single, college student-turned-high school teacher, steps out of his parental house on the last day of spring 1981, around noon. Under Tehran's sizzling sun, his walk toward his lover's apartment is interrupted. The timing for the lovers' rendezvous could not have been worse, for an unauthorized opposition rally is in full swing, interrupting the traffic, provoking the ire of zealot thugs. Caught in between the warring factions, as chains and clubs descend upon demonstrators, Farzin's hopes for seeing his friend all but evaporate. But that's not all. Under an incessant rain of bricks and stones he is mistakenly identified, as an organizer of the march by the notorious Revolutionary Guards, and subsequently arrested. This event sets the story in motion.

Farzin's arresting officer begins interrogating him in jail, a process that spans the entire summer. His mission is to discover why Farzin had come out into the streets, despite the government ban, and what his role was at the rally. But Farzin cannot reveal why he was in the street out of fear of retribution for … well, for … being a homosexual man. The penalty for being gay in the Islamic republic is death, plain and simple. Powerless and vulnerable, through a maze of confusion and hopelessness, Farzin clutches at a twig of an idea that might shed some light on the reasons for his whereabouts on March 20, 1981, without having to come out of the closet. Since he has no connection to the opposition whatsoever, he begins to fling open the vaults of his family, ending up revealing other secrets along the way. These stories, however, are seen by his captors as a ruse to cover the truth and escape punishment.

Book Description

Interruptions is a novel narrated in the third person. The protagonist is a gay man who goes to jail by mistake, and his experiences reveal the nature of the society at large. But this is also the story of a nation that is often misunderstood by others. The novel, in 77 short chapters, carries the reader through assorted realms of magic and history, to places and people who capture the mind with awe and wonder.

An excerpt from Interruptions may be viewed at

Praise for Interruptions

"In Interruptions, Massud Alemi creates a vivid, powerful picture of Iran. He brings to life, in telling scenes, the reality of people's daily existence, with all the secrets they have to keep, conspiracies they are forced into, and the violations of their rights that they have to deal with. He connects the history of Iran with the present in an interesting weave."  - Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls and Jumping over Fire

"Just when you thought all the misfortunes of the post revolutionary Iran had been told, Interruptions offers yet another shocking account." - Ahmad Baharloo –Voice of America

In t e r r u p t i o n s

By Massud Alemi

Publication Date: January 15, 2008

$24.95 | hardcover

274 pages, 6 x 9


Ibex Publishers, Inc.
Buy from amazon


About the Author:

Massud Alemi was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1959, and immigrated to the United States for higher education in 1977. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 caught him by surprise, as it did many others; nevertheless it made a huge impact on him. He studied history and researched the roots of the upheaval in the country of his birth, and within him the seed to write grew. Alemi worked as a cook, cab-driver, graphic designer, and computer network engineer to make ends meet. Meanwhile he graduated from George Mason University in Virginia, and continued to write in both English and Persian. His writings have appeared in various in-print and online publications. Interruptions is his first novel in English.


Alemi lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is at work on his next novel.


For media inquiries please contact Massud Alemi's publicist, Alexandra Aber, at or the publisher at


For information about the author and his upcoming novel, visit his website at

... Payvand News - 10/19/07 ... --

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