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This Simin got Separated from Nader, That Simin Joined Jalal

Iran's literary circles heard bad news on 8 March: Simin Daneshvar, the first female Iranian novelist passed away at the age of 90, after a long fight with illness.

I was uploading her picture on my blog on that day exactly when I heard the news. What a coincidence.

Simin Daneshvar is famous for two facts:

1. She is Jalal Al-e Ahmad's wife, the famous Iranian author,
2. She wrote the famous book "Suvashoon".

I enjoyed reading many of her husband's books in my teens, including "The School Principal" and "Pink Nailpolish" and I loved his short stories about women.

My literature teacher told us he was from a religious family and Simin was from a modern family, and this made some disagreements among them.

I only read one book by Simin, and it was her famous book. A few pages of the book was in our Persian text books in high school, and we all read the part when the female antagonist mourns her husband's heroic death.

I borrowed the book from school's library, and the dog-eared stained pages showed many students before me had read it. When I finished it I told my friend I didn't expect to read some swear words in the book. I don't know why I didn't enjoy it. Probably because I enjoyed (and enjoy) reading Western literature more.

Suvashoon, the title of the book, means "mourning for the Syavash' death". Syavash is a mythical character in Ferdowsi's Book of the Kings. He died an innocent death. The story of the books is when the south of Iran was occupied by the English during WWII. It's in the city of Shiraz, and is about a woman called Zari and her husband.

This book is among the best sellers in Iran, also it has been translated to 16 languages. I feel I understimated the beauty of the book. Maybe I can find a copy and re-read it.

On here you can read the first chapter of the book in English.


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