Middle East/North African Lit discussion

دایی‌جان ناپلئون
This topic is about دایی‌جان ناپلئون
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2014 challange > Iran: My Uncle Napoleon

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message 1: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

I'll be back with some background and a few discussion questions (I'll edit this post) but I am curious to know who is/plans to read this? It's a fun book. It looks long but reads fast (at least it did for me).


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments Looking forward to it!


message 3: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments My library does not have it, but I have ordered it as an interlibrary loan. I don't know how long it will take, but the fact that it's light and fun, yet still cultural makes it appealing!


message 4: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 625 comments Mod
Here's my take on My Uncle Napoleon: It's a farcical comedy of errors, told from the perspective of a boy coming of age in 1940s Tehran. Most of the characters are posturing men, defending and asserting either their nobility or their virility. If you like the family dynamics of The Hakawati, then you'll probably like too, and vice versa.

My favorite part of the book was its biting criticism of social norms, especially classism. I also liked how the English and German threats of the time take a backseat to the dramas acted out in the lives of Iranians. The characters are very human, complete with flaws and foibles. My only criticism is the writing seemed a little long-winded for me, but I had no trouble skimming the text, and I did want to know what would happen next.


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments Sounds cool, thanks for sharing your thoughts = ) I think I will enjoy the books based on what you say


message 6: by atefe (new) - added it

atefe (aatefe) | 3 comments Nice, I've watched the series based on the book (in persian) .....I just loved it.....enjoy the book....


message 7: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Atef, I was going to ask if anyone here had seen the series. :)

One thing that is special about this book is that it was written for an Iranian audience, not a western one. So there might be some things that western readers don't connect with or don't really "get."

It's also an older book so I'm curious if it still resonates with people in Iran, especially the younger generation?


message 8: by atefe (new) - added it

atefe (aatefe) | 3 comments @Marieke
This book is banned in Iran, but we can purchase it illegally.....
I think after watching the series (from a forbidden channel) more people became willing to find and read the book....


message 9: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
atefe wrote: "@Marieke
This book is banned in Iran, but we can purchase it illegally.....
I think after watching the series (from a forbidden channel) more people became willing to find and read the book...."


It was banned after the 1979 Revolution, right? so parents of this generation may have seen it? I was under the impression that it was quite popular. A colleague of mine who is originally from Iran also enjoyed it. I'm not sure when he saw it though. He was impressed when I told him I was reading it. :)


message 10: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments How are you all liking I it? I won't be able to read it this time around. I had it as an interlibrary loan which means I can't not keep it longer. I did not have the time to start!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I read 2/3 of it so far, but I put it down to read something totally not related to our group. This being said, I really enjoy the story... Or should I say stories, and I can see how it was made into a tv series. I think it's great to see the world through the eyes of a child. It's a very smart window to allow social critic and irony.


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments Sounds really good Miss Juliette... I've ordered the book now!


message 13: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
I enjoyed the child perspective too, Miss Juliette. I thought the voice was really well done.


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments Just started the book and noticed the edition I've bought had been translated by Dick Davis, which is good news! I read this article on translating Persian poetry that mentions him and I like his approach a lot. http://ajammc.com/2014/07/08/rewritin...


message 15: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 625 comments Mod
Thanks for the article, Zanna!


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments :-) :-)


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments I have been enjoying the book so far (I'm close to the end of part 1) and finding it an easy read. Although it's very funny it's also quite serious - the threats of deadly violence are very credible, so I'm feeling a weird mix of emotions.

The narrator's innocent efforts to figure out whether he's in love and the symptoms of his passion are funny and touching.

I feel sure I have seen bits of the TV series!


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments The first part of the TV series is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwDq_...
I recommend watching a bit, even if you have no Farsi, you will be able to follow it somewhat if you have read the book, and it gives a sense of place...


Zanna (zannastar) | 166 comments I have now written my review of the book!
here it is


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