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Iranian Novel "The Colonel" To Vie For Best Translated Book Award


Source: Tehran Times

The English version of the novel "The Colonel" by Iranian author Mahmud Dolatabadi is among the finalists of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, a literary event held by the University of Rochester in the U.S. "The Colonel" by Mahmud Dolatabadi has been translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale and the Melville House released the book in the U.S.

The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

The book, which has not been published in Iran yet, is a powerful novel onthe life of colonel who remembers his memories of families and friends in his solitude. The book concerns issues like nation, history and family.

The fiction and poetry shortlists for the 2013 Best Translated Book Awards (BTBA) were revealed simultaneously on Three Percent, an online resource for International Literature at the University of Rochester on April 10.

The 2013 shortlist includes ten works from eight different countries, ranging from Russia to Argentina to Djibouti.

"The Planets" by Sergio Chejfec, translated from Spanish by Heather Cleary; "Prehistoric Times" by Eric Chevillard, translated from French by Alyson Waters; and "Maidenhair" by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from Russian by Marian Schwartz are the among the finalists.

The winning title will be announced on May 3 at the PEN World Voices/CLMP Fest taking place at the Washington News in New York.

Launched by the weblog Three Percent in 2007, the Best Translated Book Awards aim to bring attention to the finest original works of international fiction and poetry published in the U.S. during the previous year.

Book Description:

Ten years in the writing, this fearless novel-so powerful it's banned in Iran-tells the stirring story of a tortured people forced to live under successive oppressive regimes.

It begins on a pitch black, rainy night, when there's a knock on the Colonel's door. Two policemen have come to summon him to collect the tortured body of his youngest daughter. The Islamic Revolution is devouring its own children. Set over the course of a single night, the novel follows the Colonel as he pays a bribe to recover his daughter's body and then races to bury her before sunrise.

As we watch him struggle with the death of his innocent child, we find him wracked with guilt and anger over the condition of his country, particularly as represented by his own children: a son who fell during the 1979 revolution; another driven to madness after being tortured during the Shah's regime; a third who went off to martyr himself fighting for the ayatollahs in their war against Iraq; one murdered daughter, and another who survives by being married to a cruel opportunist.

An incredibly powerful novel about nation, history and family, The Colonel is a startling illumination of the consequences of years of oppression and political upheaval in Iran.

Mahmoud Dowlatadabdi was born in 1940 in a small village in the Iranian province of Khorasan, as the son of a shoemaker who was a great lover of classic Persian literature. Self-educated and forced to work from childhood, he went to Tehran where he became an actor for stage and film. In 1975 he was arrested on stage and imprisoned for two years. Mahmud Dowlatabadi started writing in the 60s and has published several novels, short story collections, novellas and theatre plays. Dowlatabadi is one of the first Iranian writers of fiction to support himself primarily by writing. Still victim to official censorship, he is currently waiting for the license to print the final volume of his trilogy The Lives of the Old. The Colonel was banned by the regime in Iran, and first published in Germany. Dowlatabadi and his family live in Tehran, where he is also a lecturer in modern Persian literature at the university.

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