|It is the mid-eighties. A women enters a police station. Underneath her chador she is wearing a tight red dress with a slit up the side. The police officer, who is listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as she enters, takes her for a prostitute. She begins to tell him her family's story, which she continues to narrate over the following five nights. Gradually, she metamorphoses from a normal women into a magic being - a fairy or a witch. In the process, the policeman is also transformed, and together they become part of the story.
The relationship between the man and the woman mainly takes place inside the minds of the two characters. As in other works by Shahrnush Pasipur, the present novel deals with gender roles, which the author treats with a certain irony. However, at the centre of the story stands the woman with her ability to move through the past and the present.
In the passage chosen for the reading, she recounts how she plans and carries out an attack on a man called "You would be me".
The Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Iraq-Iranian war provide the backdrop to the novel. It switches between social allusions and philosophical-mystical reflections. Alongside allusions to Persian and Western literature and philosophy, the book also contains grotesque and surrealistic elements: as with the gorilla, who appears throughout the book as the policeman's alter ego, or when Kafka and Beethoven arrive on the scene.
Shahrnush Parsipur's fourth novel "Aql-e abi" (Blue Logos) was due for publication in the early 1990s when the author was suddenly arrested again. Printing was postponed indefinitely, or rather prohibited. The novel was published in Persian in the USA in 1994, and subsequently by an exile Iranian publisher in Sweden.
Sharnush Parsipur was born into a bourgeois family in 1946. Parallel to studying sociology, she was already working as an editor for the state television company in Iran when she quit the job as a protest against the execution of two artists in 1974. Only a short time afterwards, she was arrested for publicly criticising the Shah regime and imprisoned for one year. After a long stay in France, she was arrested again and spent the best part of the next five years in prison, although no reasons were stated for her detention. As there was no end to the repressive measures and her situation remained bleak, she decided, in 1994, to publish her works and to emigrate to the USA, where she now lives and works. Parsipur started writing when she was a teenager. In 1973, she wrote her first novel, The Dog and the Long Winter, and at the end of the 1970s she completed two works with an erotic air: Women without Men and The Simple and Small Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree, followed shortly afterwards by Tuba. All these works established Parsipurs reputation as a post-modernist feminist author of international stature.
Bar Bale Bad Neshastan (On the Wings of Wind), novel, 2002
Shiva, novel, 1999
Majerahaye Sadeh va Kuchake Ruhe Derakht (The Small and Simple Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree), novel, 1999
Zanan-e bedun-e mardan (Women without Men), novel, 1990
Tuba va mana-ye shab (Tuba), novel, 1989
Sag va zemestan-e boland (The Dog and the Long Winter), novel, 1976