Monday, December 12, 2005

Ali Ashraf Darvishian, the Dickens of Iran

Sellol 18 (سلول ۱۸)In my dedication to chasing down obscure literary references, I present my readers with Ali Ashraf Darvishian, the "Charles Dickens of Iran," as characterised by Marjane Satrapi, an author who Little Marji reads voraciously in Persepolis. Here is a short poignant short story titled "Paper Wishes" in which a man in a jail cell, with child-like enthusiasm, creates the map of a utopian city-- only to be put in his place. "Bafrine" tells us of a perfect spring day in Kurdistan, shattered by war. A brief biography of Darvishian can be found at the end of the story. At least in these two stories the theme of a child-like innocence destroyed is very prominent, just as it is in Persepolis.

My quest lead me to a fantastic resource, the International Children's Digital Library. Not only does the ICDL offer up more Darvishian-- if your Farsi is up to speed-- (Bread Season and Our School Wall Newspaper), but children's books in various exotic languages. The language-geek contingent of Rights Readers will find hours of fun here. And those just interested in illustration can still immerse themselves in some amazing illustrations, like Abraham and Ciconia Ciconia.
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