Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, August 25, 2017

"The Pomegranate Lady and her Sons" - A Short Story by Goli Taraghi (June, 2006, translated from Persian)

You can read this story on the web site of Words Without Borders, June, 2006

Information on Women in Translation Month - August, 2017

Goli Taraghi on The Reading Life

Short stories I have read so far for Women In Translation Month - August, 2017

  1. "Happy New Year" by Ajaat Cour - Translated from Punjabi
  2. "The Floating Forest" by Natsuo Kirino- Translated from Japanese
  3. " A Home Near the Sea" by Kamala Das - Translated from Malayalam
  4. "Maria" by Dacia Maraini- Translated from Italian
  5. "Zletka" by Maja Hrgovic - Translated from Croatian
  6. "Arshingar" by Jharna Raham - Translated from Bengali
  7. "Tsipke" by Salomea Perl - Translated from Yiddish
  8. "Mother" by Urmilaw Pawar - Translated from Marathi
  9. "My Creator, My Creation" by Tiina Raevaara - Translated from Finnish
  10. "Cast Offs" by Wajida Tabassum - Translated from Urdu
  11. It's All Up to You" by Slywia Chutnik - Translated from Polish
  12. "Covert Joy" by Clarice Lispector- Translated from Portuguese 
  13. "The Daughter, The Wife, and the Mother" by Arupa Kilita - Translated from Assam
  14. "Red Glow of the New Moon" by Kundanika Kapadia - translated from Gujarati
  15. "Breaking Point" by Usha Mahajan- translated from Hindu
  16. "The Gentleman Thief" by Goli Taraghi - translated from Persian
  17. "Spider Web" by Mariana Enriguez- translated from Spanish
  18. "My New Home" by Glaydah Namukasa - translated from Swahil
  19. "Maybe Not Yem" by Etik Juwita - translated from Indonesia 
  20. "Baking the National Cake" by Hilda Twongyeirne - translated from Runyankole, also called Nkore
  21. "The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons" by Goli Taraghi - translated from Persian

I have greatly enjoyed participating in Women in Translation Month, August, 2017.  I love discovering new to me writers, learning about new cultures and pondering the artistic methods employed by the author.  Short stories require a lot of concentration. A powerful twenty page or less short story like several of those on my list can be all I can absorb in one day.  A few days ago I read an amazing story, very much on a par with the works of writers like Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro, "The Gentleman Thief" by Goli Taraghi, translated from Persian.

That story begins in Tehran in 1979, the Shah has been deposed and The Revolutionary Guard is in control.  The family of the narrator was affiliated with the past government, their house is confiscated and the narrator moves to Paris.  Fifteen years later she returns to an amazing discovery, a very moving affirmation of dignity and honor in hard times.

I was very happy to find three more of her short stories on the website of Words Without Borders, I will be posting on all of them pretty soon. My main purposes in these posts is to let my readers know they can read these stories online and to journalize my reading experience.

"The Pomegranate Lady and her Sons" begins in the international Airport in Tehran, our narrator is getting ready to board an Air France flight to Paris.  She was inspected for security and moral propriety and the "Sister's Gate" where she was told to fasten another button on her blouse.  Taraghi does a wonderful job capturing just how unpleasant international travel can be.

"I hate this life of constant wandering, these eternal comings and goings, these middle of the night flights, dragging along my suitcase, going through Customs and the final torture, the humiliating body search. "Take off your shoes, open your handbag, let's see inside of your pockets, your mouth, your ears, your nostrils, your heart and mind and soul." I am exhausted. I feel homesick—can you believe it? Already homesick. And yet I want to get away, run, flee. "I will leave and never come back," I tell myself. "I will stay right here, in my beloved Tehran, with all its good and bad, and I will never leave. Nonsense. I am confused. All I want is to close my eyes and sleep, to slip into that magic land of oblivion and disappear.
Leave-taking. Silently, without a backward glance at those who have come to see me off, cold and quick, with a concealed lump in my throat and an inexplicable anguish, which should not be revealed.

The so-called "Sisters Entrance"—women only. My appearance is not acceptable. My headscarf has slipped back and the lowest button on my Islamic coverall is undone. Fine. "You are right, sister." I make the necessary adjustments".

The excitement of this powerful story begins when she meets and tries to help and eighty year old lady, who has never left her village, who is on the way to Sweden to see her son. She has been told the temperature there is like a perpetual deep freeze.  She is terrified by the idea of the trip but desperately wants to see her son and her never seen grandchildren.  She is carrying some pomegranates to fix her son's meal once she gets to Sweden.  

I will leave the rest of the very exciting plot untold.  I loved this story.  

Mel u

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