|A group of Iranian exiles is living on the sixth floor of a Paris tenement. Strange things happen: Murnau's Faust and a double of the first-person narrator appear and interrogate the narrator - a man who cannot recognise his own face in the mirror - about his problems in Iran. The absence of security in living in exile repeatedly drives the protagonist into a surreal schizophrenic state.
Reza Ghassemi, who lives in Paris, combines fantasy tale and milieu study to paint a unique, self-reflexive picture of life in exile. The 54-year-old author is a fine artist, theatre director and musician. His works are now being published in Iran again, where he has been awarded the Golshiri Foundation prize for the "best first novel of 2002", as well as the "critic's prize for 2002".
Reza Ghassemi was born in Isfahan in 1950. He studied classical Persian music and worked as an actor, author and director for various theatre projects. In the 1980s, after his play The Sleepwalker was banned, he emigrated to Paris where he still lives, working as a fine artist, musician, composer, director and novelist. He has meanwhile published a number of dramas and two novels. His first work Hamnavai-ye Shbane-Ye Orkestr-e Tshub-ha (Harmony), which was first printed by a Persian publisher in the USA in 1994 and subsequently appeared as a French translation, was only published in Iran in 2002. For this work, Ghassemi was awarded the renowned Golshchiri Foundation prize (among others) for the best debut novel and the highly sought-after critics prize in 2002.
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