Larson reviews Khadivi

Via Counterpunch:

“Deracination” by Charles R. Larson

Laleh Khadivi’s luminescent writing in her first novel, The Age of Orphans, speaks of Kurdish subjugation for most of the past hundred years, approaching what some of the Kurds’ neighbors would clearly prefer: obliteration. Though born in Iran in 1977, the writer herself has spent much of her life in the United States, most recently completing this novel–described as the first volume of a trilogy focusing on Kurdish men in the twentieth century. These goals are admirable, but Khadivi will need to bolster her exquisite prose with more action and dialogue if she hopes to grow a significant following of readers.

The protagonist of Khadivi’s narrative—while still breast-feeding, years beyond what would be considered normal–is circumcised and, somewhat later, trundled off to war where he observes his father’s death. He’s the only survivor from his village and, at age eleven, fully vulnerable to the Shah’s soldiers who are intent on pacifying the Kurds in the southwestern part of the newly-formed Iran (1921). Soldiers identify the boy as a tribal conscript, someone they can use to strengthen their country, and re-name him Reza Pejman Khourdi. Quickly, he’s programmed to fight for the new Iran. …

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