September 20, 2007
Let us travel to Iran
(Page 3 - Previous Page)By revisiting the lost world, novelists try to re-create and reimagine those worlds, to let others know what happened, to explain it to others and perhaps to themselves, and in so doing, they arrive at a greater truth in the telling.
Both Nahai and Sofer lead us to a Tehran that no longer exists. Yet neither work is an exercise in nostalgia.
Nahai's "Caspian Rain" lets us experience the conflicts of lives before the revolution, while Sofer's "The Septembers of Shiraz" illuminates the moment (always too late) when we realize how change will affects us.
The specificity of the Iranian Jewish experience deepens the characters, rendering them more credible, and, because we understand the choices before them, it makes these novels more universal in their appeal. If that doesn't seem logical, consider the worldwide popularity of Isaac Bashevis Singer's stories.
So let us travel to Iran. With Nahai and Sofer to guide us, we can still experience the drama, the conflicts and the pleasures of a lost world.
Tom Teicholz is a film producer in Los Angeles. Everywhere else, he's an author and journalist who has written for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Interview and The Forward.