Thursday, 29 May 2008

The New Angel

I've just finished reading a new book called The New Angel by Ali Alizadeh which has floored me. There are scenes in this novel that imprint themselves onto the brain, where they tend to reside for days.
The story concerns Bahram, currently living in Australia, who after receiving a phone call from someone in his past, begins to recall his time growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, and of his burgeoning love for Fereshteh (Persian for 'angel'). Much of the novel mirrors Ali Alizadeh's own story and it is the blurring of fact and fiction that makes this book so potent.
Alizadeh's anger at fundamentalism is so heartfelt that it is impossible to engage with the story from a detached distance. The vitriolic tone that seethes through the novel leaves the reader in no doubt the suffocating atmosphere such regimes pose on its citizens. This is not the book to read if looking for cold, objective reportage. This is a man trying to show that no matter where you run the past is always there waiting for its moment before it taps you on the shoulder and despite oppressive circumstances poetry(and all that word entails) and even possibly redemption is attainable. Greg

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