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The Blind Owl [Paperback]

Sadegh Hedayat , Porochista Khakpour , D. P. Costello
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.32 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2010
The story is narrated by a young man, a painter of miniatures, whose name is never given. He feels an overbearing need to recount an experience he went through that has shattered his whole existence. A beautiful woman, an old man and a cypress tree are the recurring motifs.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Sadegh Hedayat was born in Teheran in 1903, of an aristocratic family, and spent most of his life there. In 1951, during a stay in Paris, Hedayat committed suicide. Recognised as the outstanding Persian writer of the century, Hedayat is generally credited with having brought his country's language and literature into the mainstream of contemporary writing. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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THERE are sores which slowly erode the mind in solitude like a kind of canker. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drawn nails Dec 30 2000
Format:Paperback
I'll tell you, first thing, without a word of a lie, I was looking forward to reading "The Blind Owl". I'd heard the right noises (odd coos of approval and comparisons with other writers I liked) in the right places (other cool novels, hip joints packed to the rafters with swinging cats, that kind of thing) and I approached it (reluctantly, the way you approach anything you want to savour) like a dish of my most-favourite food, prepared to bite a hunk off, roll it over my tongue and press it flat against the roof of my mouth. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted it to better expectation (I never expected this food to melt like snow, who could have predicted that aniseed-y fennel aftertaste, that kind of thing). Because you have hopes. You have hopes for any new book (the way you have hopes for anything you invest yourself in).
Here is a book written by a friend and contemporary of Jean-Paul Sartre. Here is a book written by an intense bird-faced man from Persia who later killed himself for one of the multitude of never-to-be-understood reasons men kill themselves. Here is a book that has been described as a narcotic suicide note.
Although there are five chapters, the book essentially divides pretty evenly into two halves: the first three chapters make up part one, the last two chapters part two.
When you start reading, you are not disappointed. The book is peculiar. Dated like Kafka or Canetti but contemporary, dark and dreamlike (think Ishiguro's "The Unconsoled"). The food-y metaphor I was kicking around earlier is sort of apposite: "The Blind Owl" reads like a bubbling cauldron of something indiscriminate (it's been bubbling so long you can no longer tell precisely what went in there to make up this stew).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and beautiful June 13 2004
Format:Paperback
I can't relate at all to the reviewer who compared reading this book to pulling teeth. It is strange and slightly demented, but these qualities seem only to add to the overall quality. If one were to be in a peculiar state of mind and smoke opium, the result would be something like this. The protagonist is a sick, solitary misanthrope who suffers from what seem to be hallucinations of an old man with a turban with a horrifying laugh (this is repeated over and over again, like some kind of mantra) and a beautiful woman our anti-hero is fixated on. He persistently refers to his wife as "the bitch", but seems to love her dearly despite her infidelity and disdain of him. Hedayat's character is both self loathing and world loathing, preferring to his hypnagogic visions and sickly existence to 'real' life. He no longer makes distinctions between sanity and insanity. He finds a woman's body chopped up (it seems) and does not tell the police. By the end of this novel, really a series of incomprehensible happenings spliced with some bitter comments on humanity, we have come to understand him as a lucid but self divided man losing his mind. This is a must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and haunting, truely like no other Feb. 14 2003
Format:Paperback
An Persian friend reccommended this book to me, and managed to read it all in one sitting. It was such a quick, compelling read, with so much going on that you feel like you are running through a sandstorm. I have NEVER read a description of an insane mind as well written as this. Poe, Lovecraft, and Dostoeyevsky, I would say, have written excellent descriptions of insane minds, but this is by far the best. By the way, Lovecraft and Dostoyevsky are my two favorite authors.
The passage where the narrator describes his dream woman as an angel, and describes the beauty of her eyes is definatly the most beautiful passage I have ever read. Likewise, his descriptions of the more gruesome scenes are really quite disgusting.
Hedayat really wrote a masterpiece here. I would highly reccomend it to people who enjoy the authors I have previously mentioned. Its a great book, with so many layers, and so many different ways to interpret what's going on. In the end, even I was unable to figure out what the truth of the matter really was. Absolutely fascinating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gem in lirature April 9 2002
Format:Paperback
"There are sores which slowly erode the mind in solitude like a kind of canker"
That is how the translation of D.P. Costello starts.
This first line of the book is enough to grab your undivided attention. This opening draws you into a surreal dream world where fiction and fact flow into each other seamlessly, where symbolism and real life events coexist with the shadows of the dreamworld and people of flesh and blood.
If you like, this book can be compared to a fugue, a musical discipline where one theme is repeated and transposed/transformed in the other voices. Likewise, certain themes are repeated in a different context, much like a puzzle. If you are looking for something easy to read, skip this book. BUT, if you are looking for a little gem in literature, which will reveal itself to you only after giving it your undivided attention, much like a beautiful woman waiting to be conquered, then buy this book. You will read it, and read it again and again, and experience a secret joy over discovering something this precious, a precious little gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A psychic novel partII Dec 2 2000
Format:Paperback
Blind Owl is a masterpiece whose values are getting more clear as time goes by.This is the whole history of mankind no matter where one was born or raised.There are some similarities which are transcultural and this is the beauty of his work.One is born somewhere in this world with a Paradise in his/her heart.This is somehow reflected in one,s childhood and joyful experiences of youth.These are all symbolized in the dream-lady who is also symbolizing Mother-Persia:the writer,s sweet homeland.Then everything changes and the dream-lady of your sweet dreams becomes your very true wife who makes love to many different people.This is actually your mother-persia who is showing infidelity and surrenders to many diferrent nations and cultures and you have an ambivalent feeling toward her.You love her.How could one stop loving one,s mother? and you hate her.How can one love a disgusting mother who gives her heart to your enemies and to those who tried to eradicate your ancient religion and culture?This is the great tragedy of the writer of "Blind Owl". This ambivalence can not be tolerated in true life and the writer kills his unfaithful wife/mother in his novel and himself in reality.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible
I am getting to old to read books where I understand nothing. Perhaps I am not smart enough but I understood nothing when I read this book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rafid Haidar
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Owl
Sadegh Hedayat is an extraordinary writter. This is a must read, indeed a masterpiece of Iranian lit. Reads very well in one sitting.
Published on Nov. 27 2009 by Nourai
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal Beauty
This book was intense and poetic at the same time,raw and brutal, but very sympathetic. The mental breakdown the man suffers in this story is very disturbing at times and sometimes... Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2003 by ERIK
5.0 out of 5 stars health catastrophe
Acclaimed by Henri Miller as the best book he has ever read in any language ... a short creepy novella for eradication of humankind
Also praised by Octavio Paz, Andre Breton... Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars blind owl still alive
one of the most important aspects of "Blind Owl"is its potential to be interpreted in so many different and even opposing ways. Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by mehrdad salimi
5.0 out of 5 stars A comment about Mr. Peter Wild's review...
I don't have much to say about the blind owl. This book is one of the most famous books in the world and its value and specific style is awesome. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2001 by "sarseporde"
5.0 out of 5 stars Hedayat was the Blind Owl
Sadegh Hedayat did not write a novel. This was his autobiography. A rather macabre tale that in reality ended in a small apartment in Paris. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2000 by Soheyl Dahi
5.0 out of 5 stars vision
I loved reading "Blind Owl" though I am sure I didn't get the whole thing. But the idea was sad and real. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2000
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