Persian movies and sometimes books revolve around depressive subjects. Perhaps it is a reflection of Persia's long history and the harsh realities that have embedded themselves in our memories and deep within our culture. I had suspected, from the title of this book, that this would be a depressing book, and I was not disappointed. But that shouldn't deter you from reading this book as it is very imaginative and very fluid in its writing style.
The story revolves around two brothers, their significantly different views on life and styles and the clashes between them as they become older. One is studios and a bookworm, with a poetic mind. Another a store owner, trader and uneducated. One seeks discovering his identity; the other looks for greatness in approval and recognition from society. These differences are accentuated and emphasized by their parents, each in its own way. A father whose world does not extend much beyond his business and his place of residence. And a mother who sees injustices in how her children are being treated by their father and tries very hard to make up for it. Each page, each chapter reeks of death and decay, not unlike James Joyce's Dubliners. But most importantly it is about ignorance, about principles and force feeding them to people around us, and yes about love. Love is what binds people together throughout these pages and selfishness and self-pity are what create isolation and amplifies ignorance.
The chapters can be schizophrenic - the narratives at times jump from one time internal and incident to another, even multiple times within a paragraph. It was hard to adjust to this style at the beginning, specially in the first chapter which was almost like a summary of chapters to come. But I came to appreciate it as it was actually very creative. I'm sure this is not the first time this has been done by a writer but Mr Maroufi has done a great job here. In one of the chapters, the whole writing is a stream of consciousness, not unlike how the thoughts and memories come and go into our heads, without filters, sometimes at random, but usually along a theme or two. The writing is very fluid and smooth.
I started reading the translated version. But the translation, although is ok, does not capture the original feel of this book, written in persian. I definitely suggest reading it in persian if you can. Regardless, as depressing as the book may seem (similar to the feel that The Road by Cormac McCarthy had), it is very enjoyable to read.