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Book 18: Iran (English) – Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith (Gina NAHAI)

This is a subtly magical realist novel from the part of the world which gifted us the Thousand Nights and One Night, and which is almost as beautiful as its title. It follows a few generations of an endearing and occasionally annoying Jewish Iranian family who try to evade an apparently fated bad luck. This is concentrated in Lili, who as a five-year-old watches her mother Roxanna the Angel fly away from her family (literally): “…she had been so light and delicate, so undisturbed by the rules of gravity and the drudgery of human existence, she had grown wings, one night when the darkness was the colour of her dreams, and flown into the star-studded night of Iran that claimed her.” She floated away insouciantly on the winds of inevitable Fate, and does not return for 13 years so Lili has to grow up without her. Her search for her mother and an explanation takes her through Turkey and the US, where they are finally re-united in the ‘City of Angels’.

Gina Nahai herself was born in Iran but has long lived in the United States. She wields her language like a master storyteller. Her book is wonderful escapism but at the same time so very true and meaningful. All in all, a lovely book.

 

NAHAI, Gina B. (1961 – ): Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, Pocket Books, Washington Square Press, NY, 1999, ISBN 978-0-671-04283-7

 

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