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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
In an age when visual images have become infinitely manipulable, and have thus forfeited their credibility, words alone can convey the multifaceted, fleeting, elastic yet intractable truth of memory and events. Persian Postcards, the fruit of ten years of travel to the Islamic Republic as both journalist and impassioned observer, is an attempt to suggest the depth and the complexity, the tragedy and raw beauty of this truth.
Fred Reed went to Iran driven by discontent with the official Western view that country as a den of fundamentalist fanatics and terrorists. Not surprisingly, he found that the Iranians had reasons – excellent reasons – for acting as they did. The Iran-Iraq war, cynically prolonged by the Western powers who armed Saddam Hussein against Khomeini’s poorly armed but highly motivated revolutionary guards and volunteers, furnished the most conclusive example. Iranian history, in its meeting with the peculiar traditions of Shi’ite Islam, provided a wealth of others.
In Persian Postcards, Iranians of many persuasions speak on the issues of their society, on regional politics, on the role of religion in life, on public and private morality. We meet artists and filmmakers, philosophers and mollahs, establishment men and dissidents, women speaking on women’s issues and on life, members of parliament and “terrorists.”
Chronologically discontinuous, Persian Postcards draws a deeper thematic unity from places and events: the funeral of Imam Khomeini at Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, the Assassin castle of Alamut, the great mosques of Isfahan, the shady sidewalks of Vali-ye Asr Avenue in downtown Tehran, rural reconstruction projects in the mountains of Rudbar.
Persian Postcards is more than a journalistic report, an academic treatise, or a travel book, although it enfolds elements of all three. It explores an unknown quarter, a territory inhabited by people of culture, dignity and poetic genius, moved by forces which defy the impoverished classification theology of Reason and Technique. Persian Postcards is not only about Iran; it is about us.
ISBN 13: 9780889223516 | ISBN 10: 889223513
6 W x 9 H x 1 D inches | 288 pages
$24.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: TRV015000
QUOTES OF NOTE
An excellent guide to the people, religion, politics and world view of modern Iran.
— Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Both accessible to the uninitiated and a valuable resource.
— Quill & Quire
Assumptions about Iran shattered.
— Toronto Star
About the ContributorsFred A. Reed
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. After several years as a librarian and trade union activist at the Montreal Gazette, Reed began reporting from Islamic Iran in 1984, visiting the Islamic Republic thirty times since then. He has also reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.