An Interview with Marzieh Nafari Admired Author of “Left from Son”

A reflection of the bloody uprising of Khordad 15th in a different novel

January 15, 2022 - 18:9

The novel “Left from Son” is a narration of the life story of a man overwhelmed by the wounding of his son and is set to flourish again. Standing on the Bagherabad Bridge, near his house, Salar, a man who has been estranged from the family, got into a fight with people having nothing to do with them. Actually, it does not matter to him why such people have moved to Tehran and why they are indignant. 

Marzieh Nafari has spent three years of her life on the composition of the novel to say that reconstruction is feasible. As nominated for various literary awards, including the Islamic Revolution Fiction Festival, the novel was selected as the laudable work of the Seyyed Ali Andarzgu Literary Awards in the adult category. We therefore did an interview with the author of the book whose excerpts are available in the following.    

* Tell us a little bit about Marzieh Nafari. Your name has recently been reverberated in the literary space, especially in many festival circles. Where did you start writing?

Exactly like many contemporary writers, I started the writing from an essay class in school. During my education, my pieces of writings were received praise over and over and in the second grade of high school in 1376, my story won first place in national competitions, which was very sweet. I became more interested in writing afterwards. 

In the meantime, I had detached myself from the world of writing for about ten years and stopped writing anything from 1378 to 1388. In 1388, I embarked on a new journey of writing activities by working with the media. Then I published my first collection of stories and novels for children and teens. In 1397, I started writing the book of “Left from Son” which ended well. It is worth saying that it was one of the honorable works in the Islamic Revolution Book Festival and was also appreciated in the Seyyed Ali Andarzgu Literary Awards. 

* Introduce “Left from Son” from your own point of view and tell us how you came to write the novel?

This book is my second novel for adults. The main events of the book take place in the 1340s, especially in 1342. Unlike many works in which heroes narrate the story, it is the antagonist who drives the story forward. Salar opposes the uprising and strives to stand up against the people in any way. He is one of those cracking down the people on the bridge and hinders them from reaching Tehran. This is the story recounting Salar’s rise and fall as well as his rebirth. I lived in Varamin for a while. That is why I followed up all about its news and events. I remember a documentary that asked people about their memories of the events of the bloody uprising of Khordad 15th. I studied the oral history of such events. Among the other narratives, events which took place on the Bagherabad Bridge attracted my attention. They tickled my mind for a while as a subject of a story until the novel of “Left from Son” was born in the form of a stunning story in which a boy is wounded by his father during the incidents.

* How does the story proceed? What role does Salar play in the story? And why does a negative character recount the story?

Generally, I tried to depict the events with a different language and atmosphere. This is a story of a man called Salar, who is estranged from the family, stands on the Bagherabad Bridge to beat people of kind knowing nothing of them. Why did these people try to reach Tehran? Why are they angry? Salar knows nothing about them. What he knows is to use violence against people standing on the bridge to impede their way of moving to Tehran. Sohrab’s young son is missing. Everyone is looking for Sohrab who has changed and thinks big. In the dark of night, Salar stabbed Sohrab with a dagger who is the lovely fruit of his life and was supposed to marry Azar. 

Is filicide a repetitive motif in Persian Literature? In this novel, the focus is on the life story of Salar in 1342. The year known for great historical milestones in which the life of Salar and Azar was ended in fiasco, Sohrab's path was drastically changed and Salar’s life was devastated. Salar is doing his best to build from scratch regardless of knowing that the reconstruction of ruins is a tall order. Salar plays a key role in the story, becoming the main character of the story, but why a negative character moves the story forward is because I always wanted to look at challenges from the other angel to see what is happening on the other side. Why does a determined person stand against the people and even his own son? That’s why the character fully grabbed my attention. We normally expect a story to be narrated by a positive character, and the motives of such a character are clear, but I wanted to take a different path. I began the narration by telling a story whose principal figure is adamant enough to crack down the people of Varamin and stop them from reaching Tehran. How did this character reach such a stage? Why does he behave like this? Does he regret it? And does he feel ashamed or complacent? To understand all of them, I did my best to depict a story from what’s inside the mind of the antagonist. I found it a good experience.

* Did you choose the name of Sohrab intentionally? Why did you use such a name?

The selection of Sohrab's name as the son of Salar who is the main character of the story was intentional, reminding us of the story of tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab in Shahnameh. What I sought is to have a re-narration of combat of Sohrab and Rostam. Discovering a new and different world alongside with his father, the young Sohrab of our story joins people and then is injured with his father in the climax of the story, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the main character.

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