Cover image for Tehran at twilight
Tehran at twilight
Abdoh, Salar, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Brooklyn, NY : Akashic Books, [2014]

Physical Description:
236 pages ; 21 cm
Iranian ex-pat Reza Malek's quiet professorial life is upended when he returns to Tehran to help his best friend Sina Vava who is involved with Shia militants --
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2008. Reza Malek lives in Harlem, relieved to be far from the turmoil of Iraq and Afghanistan where he worked as a reporter and sometime lover for a superstar journalist who has long since moved on. After a terse phone call from his childhood friend, Sina Vafa, Reza returns to Tehran. Once there, he finds more than he bargained for: the city on the edge of revolution; his friend embroiled with murderous Shiite militants. His missing mother, who was alleged to have run off before the revolution, is alive and well; while his own life is in danger.

Author Notes

Salar Abdoh was born in Iran, and splits his time between Tehran and New York City, where he is codirector of the Creative Writing MFA Program at the City College of New York. He is the author of The Poet Game and Opium . His essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times , BOMB , Callaloo , Guernica , and on the BBC. He is the recipient of the NYFA Prize and the National Endowment for the Arts award. He is the editor of Tehran Noir and the author of Tehran at Twilight , his latest novel.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Abdoh (Opium) returns to his native Iran and adopted New York in a novel about two Iranian-American friends on opposite sides of the political spectrum. After years spent chasing a Ph.D. studying Sufi mystics and serving as an interpreter for one of America's embedded journalists during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Reza Malek accepts a cushy teaching job at a college in Harlem, far from the fray. But when Sina, his reactionary boyhood friend, calls in a favor from Tehran and asks Malek to serve as the legal executor of Sina's vast estate. Malek journeys back to his childhood home to uphold his end of the bargain. Soon Malek is up to his eyeballs in shady, and potentially life-threatening, dealings, and finds himself being shadowed by a double (or possibly even triple) agent named Fani with an interest in Sina's real estate holdings. Further complicating matters is a reunion with his long-lost mother who wishes to emigrate to the United States, but is on an Iranian government watch-list. Abdoh paints a gripping portrait of a nation awash in violence and crippled by corruption. He also uses Malek's safe life in New York-steeped in stodgy, out-of-touch academia and hemmed in by a typically apathetic American worldview-as an effective counterpoint to the mayhem in the Middle East. Malek's noble quest to do what's morally right despite taxing circumstances is captivating. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Reza Malek and his father escaped Tehran before the revolution, settling in California, where Reza attended Berkeley and met his best friend, Sina Vafa. After earning degrees, the two inseparable companions acted as interpreters for war correspondents reporting on the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Americanized Reza published a book about his impressions and received a plum job offer at a college in New York City, while Sina returned to Tehran, a city rife with corruption and political intrigue, to become entangled with a reactionary anti-Western organization. When Sina phones Reza, asking for help, Reza has every reason to say no until Sina reveals that he has found Reza's mother, thought to have abandoned her family 30 years before. Straddling two disparate worlds, Reza struggles to understand his mother's story and his friend's involvement in a treacherous game. VERDICT Abdoh (The Poet Game), codirector of the MFA program in creative writing at City College of New York, gives readers a visceral sense of life in a country where repression is the norm, someone is always watching, and your past is never really past. Recommended for espionage aficionados and for readers who enjoy international settings. [See "Books for the Masses," Editors' BEA Picks, LJ 7/14, p. 30.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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