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New Internationalist: Four star review for The Drum Tower

Iranian writer Farnoosh Moshiri has undergone experiences in her own life that a fiction writer would hesitate to deal out to a character. She fled into exile with her young son in 1983 as the Islamic regime began a wave of arrests and executions of political activists, intellectuals and feminists. She travelled across the mountains to Afghanistan and spent four years in refugee camps there and in India before emigrating to the US in 1987. In exile, it was several years before she felt able to write again, but gradually o the 1990s she began publishing a series of well received novels and collections.

Her latest novel is the sweeping, magisterial family saga The Drum Tower, set in the1970s, against the backdrop of the fall of the Shah and the Islamic revolution. In Tehran, in a house known as the Drum Tower, lives a young girl, Talkhoon. In the household is Talkhoon’s sister, Taara, her grandparents and her forbidding uncle, Asaad. The girls’ father is in hiding and their mother is missing, facts which seem to inspire fierce hatred of Talkhoon by her grandmother, who keeps her confined to the basement. In the tower of the house, Talkhoon’s grandfather works obsessively on a vast book concerning the Simorgh, the legendary Bird of Knowledge, as the revolution edges ever closer.

Ambitious in scope, labyrinthine in construction and peopled with vivid and believable characters, The Drum Tower hurtles to a stirring climax on the roof of the house as mysteries are resolved and fates are decided.

New Internationalist, December 2014

Farnoosh Moshiri

Farnoosh Moshiri