Little, Brown, Aug 2002, 24.95, 338 pp.
In the late 1970s in Iran, Mahastee Mosharraf is a member of the mid-echelon of the upper class. Her husband Houshang runs a contracting firm that succeeds by bribing the right people. Houshang and Mahastee provide a civil public face, but have not shared sex in years.
At work, Mahastee finds out that the Shah's secret police arrested the son of a co-worker for rumors of participating in Marxist activity. Unable to ignore it, Mahastee uses her place in society that has given her substantial contacts within the government contacts to learn what happened to the incarcerated man. Mahastee discovers that the state prisoner was part of a Marxist revolutionary group. Her investigation leads to Mahastee meeting childhood friend and Marxist Reza Nirvani. Reza and Mahastee share a hatred of the Shah, which is enough to lead to an affair at the same time that the country's social and political order begins to collapse.
This is an exciting look at a moment just prior to a pivotal event in the twentieth century. The story line provides a deep look at Iran just before the Khomeini revolution. Though readers will feel little empathy or attachment to Mahastee, Reza, or Houshang, fans of late historical tales will enjoy this vivid description of the late 1970s in Iran.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner