The New Angel

Ali Alizadeh

The New Angel
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The New Angel

Ali Alizadeh

The New Angel is the moving story of Bahram and Fereshteh (Persian for Angel) growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war. At its heart is a love story between two adolescents at odds with the society in which they live, and the way in which our lives can be changed forever by external events over which we have no control. Alizadeh writes superbly of the pains and beauties of adolescence and the devastating ways in which catastrophic events can shape our thoughts and actions. Brahram and Fereshteh capture our hearts, and ultimately break them. The New Angel engages and disturbs the reader as it moves with suspense and purpose towards its startling climax.

Review

Bahram’s parents are the very epitome of modern Iran: university educated, secular, progressive. His kindly uncle Behrooz was a progressive academic. But everything changed with Islamic revolution; his mother had been told to wear a scarf over her head and his father to stop wearing his colourful Western ties. His cousin Abbas joins the Islamic army and becomes a pernicious force against his family and the life they had led. After a tirade against the Islamists in front of Abbas, Behrooz strangely disappears. The pressure drives his mother to insanity. The protracted war with Iraq brings new levels of suffering and suspicion. In spite of this, the young Bahram, an outsider, finds friendship and love with Fereshteh (Persian for ‘angel’).

Their relationship develops secretly, they think, and they fantasise about escaping together. Unknown to them, they are observed by Abbas and their plans are tragically foiled. Alizedeh beautifully and terrifyingly portrays a society in disastrous transition - one can only hope it is just a tragic interlude. The New Angel is a wonderful novel by a highly talented Iranian-born Australian writer.

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