Author(s): Ali Aragi
This sweeping multi-generational debut tells the story of a centuries-old curse carrying one family to the brink of the 1979 Iranian revolution--and announces the arrival of a bold new literary talent.
"Agha" is an honorific title dating back to the Ottoman Empire. It is how many Iranians refer to the county's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
Agha is also what the Torkashvand family calls their seemingly immortal patriarch, the trunk of their widely branching, family tree. When we come to the story, Agha is so old that he spends his days sitting in the family orchard, drinking tea and telling stories to his great-great-great-great grandson Ahmad. Agha's favorite story tells of a family curse that seems to shed light on the political turmoil roiling in Iran and foretell Ahmad's fated role in the country's future.
There is certainly something plaguing Ahmad's family. At the age of seven, Ahmad witnesses his father's suicide and consequently loses his voice. But this is only the beginning of what will become another very long life- of three loves, of ever-tangled family dramas, a doomed career in politics, and of poetry, all of which converge and catch fire at the center of the Revolution.