“Funny, incisive, frightening and eminently skillful.”—New York Times
The year is 1978, the tumultuous period leading up to the Iranian Revolution. While visiting Iran with her husband, Chloe Fowler is left to travel alone after he is summoned home. Much to her surprise, she finds herself drawn to the country, intoxicated by each unfamiliar sight that reminds her how far from home she really is, both comforted and unsettled by the group of foreign and Iranian physicians and their wives who take her in. However, her exhilaration crashes when odd, often frightening events begin to occur, exposing the darker side of this “colonial life.” Chloe is about to be liberated from everything she has ever known—in a place where her ordinary notions of reason and reality will run headlong into a wall of intrigue, and where every idea she has about herself will be put to the test.
Persian Nights follows Chloe on a voyage through the seductively inexplicable, and has all the qualities one expects from the gifted author of Le Divorce—the quirky, vivid atmosphere; the intelligent, humane voice; the compelling narrative. Once again, Diane Johnson delivers an entertaining novel of an appealing woman caught up in a mysterious world of change and intrigue.
Diane Johnson is the author of ten novels, including Le Mariage and Le Divorce, two books of essays, two biographies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick’s classic film The Shining. She has been a finalist four times for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book… More about Diane Johnson
“Funny, incisive, frightening and eminently skillful. In addition, it displays the Cassandra-like quality of good fiction… When we read, at a climactic moment in the novel, ‘It seems the Americans are gun runners,’ the words hit home with a sickening thud. Ms. Johnson’s novel might be read as a primer by any Westerner unfamiliar with Iran—that is, by anyone who has not lived there for some weeks, unprotected by the artificial host apparatus set up for Government-sanctioned visits.”—Jayne Phillips, New York Times
“All this is material for a tale of high adventure in a dangerous, foreign setting; but novelist and screenwriter Diane Johnson also explores a deeper level of human intrigue: one that has less to do with the suspenseful action than with its attendant moments of doubt and discovery… Deftly, the narrative weaves through the lives and viewpoints of the other residents of the Azami Compound: Iranian doctors and their fretful, foreign spouses; American doctors divorced or just divorcing; Iranian wives who feel stifled and alienated and seek escape from their country; a grieving widower who seeks meaning in death through an impulsive act of bravery.”—Los Angeles Times