Shirin and Salt Man

Nilofar Shidmehr - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 164pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:9780889822467
/ $17.95

Shirin and Salt Man is a novella in verse, which tells the story of a young modern day Iranian woman, Shirin. She is an ordinary girl from Kermanshah born before the Islamic Revolution, who imagines herself to be an incarnation of princess Shirin, depicted in the ancient Persian classic Shirin and Khosro. At first she tries to shape her life to that of the myth, but later decides to change her destiny and become the author of her own story. She leaves her husband and runs away with the Salt Man, a 1700 year old mummy on display at the Iranian National Museum in Tehran.

The poems form a compelling narrative of the life of a contemporary Iranian woman whose voice has been muted by Khosro, her fundamentalist and traditional husband. In an environment where the dominance of men is written in stone and where only men have the authority for fashioning and telling stories, Shirin reclaims a place for herself as a lover and teller of stories. She re-enters life through cracks of narrative to invent Shirin anew, one whose life-path radically diverges from that of her namesake, Shirin of Nezami’s story. She digs out Farhad, the mythical lover of princess Shirin, who has now become the Salt Man, from under the dust and stones of history and she gives him another opportunity to love her. In transforming Salt Man to another Farhad, Shirin creates a new history—one shaped and narrated by a feminine voice.

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