Read more about The Pomegranate Lady And Her Sons: Selected Stories and other books by Goli Taraghi. Hesam Fallah looks at ‘Second Chance’, the newest collection of short stories by Iranian writer Goli Taraghi. The doctor knows about my love of writing. She brings me a handful of white paper and some sharp pencils. I sit at the table and am frozen. What should I write?.
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She assumed — naively, she now says — that it would last a spell. This time they fled by bus to Ankara: It was very, very hard and risky. She visits Tehran often and continues to publish there, mostly short stories. Her incisive, often bitingly funny work is apolitical, but the calamitous Islamic Revolution seems omnipresent, forcing her characters into what Taraghi calls a double life, either in exile or in Iran.
While her novel Winter Sleep and some of her short stories, including the collection A Mansion in the Skyhave been published in the United States, the acclaim she has received in Iran and France has eluded her here. She was recently praised by Francine Prose as a gifted writer whose layered, communicative stories warranted broader discovery. How do you deal with the government as an author and what is the current publishing apparatus in Iran?
I have my own publisher. There are a lot of publishing houses in Iran, even more than before [the Revolution]. Today we have This self-confirmation is very, very strong. What happens with you and your publisher? Do you ever run into questions of censorship? Most of them, they send their books abroad to be published, so they lose their audience. For me, I am a famous writer — one of the most famous — and my books are bestsellers right away. For me, to go into the inner life of human beings is more important, to discover myself, to discover the other one, and by discovering the other one, discovering myself.
But still I have difficulties publishing because the government as a whole is against me. My position is very bad. I live in France and I come from a very big, famous family. Often they attack me in official journals. They call me a woman who has sold her soul to Western values. I am a bad woman, I am this, I am that. Still, my books come out. Not definitely but you have no guarantee. The procedure is like this: You have to get their permission. It all depends on who reads your book.
If your book falls into the hands of someone who has some brain, who may like your book, who believes somehow in literature, in art, he may give his permission.
If it falls into the hands of a Hezbollah or someone with very fanatic ideas The doors are closed. A change of atmosphere.
Khatemi comes, for example, and he changes most of the people. We call this the Ershad Ministry. The Minister of Ershad changed. He was a man who, right away, gave a lot of freedom. Even, for example, if my book has been reprinted six times, for the seventh time I have to [get] the permission, so they have to see it again.
Then it takes a long time. Someone else may help.
Books by Goli Taraghi and Complete Book Reviews
There were a lot philosophical elements in it. It was taken from all the bookshops and for two years it was confiscated. Do you have any interactions with anyone at the Ministry of Islamic Orientation? You could even talk to [the minister], you could even ask for a rendez-vous and go and see him or send him a letter.
He was sort of a human person who would listen to you. For me, I have to wait and see what happens. The difficulty with censorship is that you never know.
If you attack the religion, forget it; if you attack the government also. This city is a corrupt city. He may be corrupted. He must come back. You should bring him back. Censorship has brought about a special sort of literature, which taragghi that you say a lot of things symbolically, because you cannot directly say what you want to say. Most tarraghi the writers, for example, change the place. They change the time. No — they set it, for example, before the Revolution or 50 years ago, change the characters.
You see [artists do this], mostly with Iranian films. You probably know — I hope you know — that Kiarostami, who is the leader of Iranian cinema, started this [trend].
The First Day
If he could make a film about a man and a woman, he would, but he started with children in villages. He absolutely wanted to be sincere. Then everybody followed him. If you show the women [in public], naturally they wear veils, but there are a lot of films that become ridiculous.
I was a scenario for a friend Daryoush Mehrjuei, also a big sceneriste. Still, you would have to bring it to down golo years old. But what can we do about the hair? Then we changed the character. She wears a hat like that. We made her like a little boy.
Goli Taraghi – Wikipedia
He makes two big knots of the hair. Then, as a gift, he sews the knots onto each side of the hat, and gives these to her as a love gift. You still, despite all these obstacles, want to continue to work and publish in Iran. Yes, in Iran, because I have a big, big audience.
I have a big audience in Iran. I want to publish in Iran.
Three of my books are translated into French. Actes Sud is my publisher in France, which is one of the biggest publishing houses, and considered one of the best. I have many articles written about my work. Somehow I am known, but I want to publish here [in the United States].
I want to write what I believe in. Tarayhi believe in pure literature. You cannot buy me.
But [at a New York Goil Library panel on taragih, great great translators from the Spanish said that [in holi United States] two percent of the literary works are translations. I received very encouraging letters: Then there is a dilemma with translation. I have one or two very good translators. One of them is the Zara Houshmand.
She is very, very good, because she translates like a writer: And there is a second, also. Both of them said the same thing: It has to be translated. Translator says, give me the contract first.
There is this dilemma. Because in France, even the rich, big publishing companies, like Gallimard or Actes Sud, they can get help for foreign books, for translations, and for publishing. Institutions in France give money to even big companies.
You were saying earlier that your writing has nothing to do with politics, despite the fact that many of your stories have this tension between before the Revolution and after the Revolution. Has your literary sensibility been affected by political events? First of all, I have studied philosophy and I have always believed that social problems are very important but if your writing deals only with the political and social issues of today, it will not last.
For me, the universal, primordial themes are more attractive, always, because as a philosopher I was always think in a philosophical way. Of course I pose this problem in an Iran of today, within the limit of censorship, but you can see that it is in Iran, the contradictions In the [stories], there is a human and universal problem.