Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Echoes from the Other Land
by Ava Homa
Echoes from the Other Land—October 2010
These haunting stories beautifully evoke the oppressive lives of modern women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Anis, a computer programmer, is at the end of her rope, putting up with the bullying criticism of a no-good, unemployed lout of a husband; Azar is a young divorcee, and the only person she can talk to is Reza; but she can see him only late at night when “they” are not around; Sharmin has Down’s syndrome and hopelessly loves Azad; he loves Kazhal, beautiful and blessed; but Kazhal is married off and is divorced at twenty and now awaits a hopeless future . . . For these and other characters the weight of traditional attitudes, the harrassment of the religious establishment, and the attitudes of men make for a frustrating, confining, and sometimes unlivable existence.
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"Ranging across regions, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and political dispositions, Homa’s characters give us a prismatic portrait of Iran that resists both internal tyrannies and Western demonization. Her style is elegantly spare, gem-solid. This is a voice we all need to hear."
—Susan Holbrook, author of Joy Is So Exhausting
"Ava Homa is Canada’s exquisite answer to Raymond Carver. Homa announces new beginnings—less irony, more hope—and from a breathtakingly multicultural and international perspective. Readers will experience awe and beauty at the force of Homa’s art to convey female Iranian protagonists wholeheartedly grasping their lives. A taut and subtle plain-spokenness enlivens her writing, belying rich dramatic tensions that build just beneath the surface—which will surprise readers and then
—Louis Cabri, author of The Mood Embosser
Ava Homa was teaching at a university in Iran when she decided to move to Canada to study in an Ontario university. Currently she lives in Toronto, where she continues teaching and writing.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Iran is isolated and yet active in the world. It is ruled by religious tradition and yet is in many ways modern and sophisticated. My concern in Echoes from the Other Land is to emphasise the considerable diversity in Iran, a country with a rich history and variety of ethnicities. While I wish to emphasize diversity, to represent such a diverse nation is not the objective of this collection—nor is it, I believe, an achievable goal. As the American writer, Mary Burger, puts it: “narrative is the tool for exploring being in time” (9). So too, my narrative explores being in time. This is meant to resist representations enforced by both the Western accounts of Iran and those of the oppressive regime