Forty Nights by Pirooz Jafari | Review

This review was originally published on Books + Publishing.

Forty Nights is the literary debut of photographer turned lawyer and writer Pirooz Jafari. The novel weaves together three separate timelines, moving between 1360s Sweden, 1980s Iran and present-day Australia—with some detours into present-day Somalia and Kenya. Forty Nights primarily follows protagonist Tishtar, a fictional representation of the author, as he helps a neighbour seek asylum for her nieces and reflects on his own experiences that led him to seek refuge in Australia.

Full of poetic refrains, Forty Nights is a love letter to Jafari’s native Iran and its history, while also a condemnation of the country’s political conditions since the 1979 revolution. With the characters of his novel displaced by war and political turmoil, Jafari implores the reader to consider the after-effects of these events on people both individually and as a society. Although the sweeping story spans continents and historical eras, the novel’s narrative threads ultimately converge as a reckoning with the contemporary concept of home.

Melding the magical elements of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid with the harsh realities of Marjan Satrapi’s Persepolis, this debut gives voice to those who have fled their home nations due to conditions beyond their control.

Review by Marina Sano.

Forty Nights by Pirooz Jafari | Review

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