Friday, April 28, 2006
Naveed Nori is an author’s pseudonym now getting to be known for his novel Dakhmeh (Toby Press, USA, 2003). Noori’s work is disturbing, antirevolutionary, and almost deliriously scornful toward Islamic totalitarianism in post revolutionary Iran.
Dakhmeh is the story of a young, irreligious man, Arash whose nostalgic compulsion drives him back to Iran, his home country that his family fled during the war of Islamic Revolution. The misery of post revolutionary Iranian life shatters his idealistic picture of life in his country and he ends up as a political prisoner somewhere between sanity and madness.
From the first page, the text of the book hits the reader as poorly written, egotistical, and sloppy. The story lacks a clear point and character development is null. Narration is mostly incoherent with alternating first person and omniscient modes, both abruptly truncating. Too much of personal pique shows on every page till the end. Even conversation between the vaguely portrayed characters feel like formal interviews, all leading to a prefigured viewpoint.
Certainly the author has plucked a significant string in the history of politics and societal transformation. His (?) criticism of media and cruel treatment of all creatures outside the fundamentalist’s circle are of appeal to the humanistic mind. Still, Noori fails badly as a novelist. The motives of his (?) protagonist are diffused and Arash’s obsession with socio political change is utterly boring. Lack of meaning in the protagonist’s experiences is disappointingly manifest. His vindictive bitterness pours out on leaders and historical figures alike, childishly with little thought or coherence of ideas. The intended audience of the author is also hard to imagine.
In general, Dakhmeh is a frumpy text of sloppily worked political history and social dilapidation. After Arash contracts a prostitute, we read him asking himself ‘Where was I heading?’ A reader’s wish might well be ‘If only the author had asked himself (?) the same question before setting out to write this book.’