Based on her interviews with men who lived through the Iranian Revolution, the author delivers eight short stories that examine the human condition. These evocative stories artfully explore every facet of humanity… an impressive collection about relationships in a turbulent Iran that offers powerful insights.
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
In ‘Tales of Love and Despair’, sociologist Mahnaz Kousha draws from extensive interviews to craft eight short stories that capture the spirit of an era … Set between the 1970s and 1990s, these clear accounts from seldom-heard voices explore relationships at different stages. From teenage devotion to courtship, from midlife resignation to the pain experienced by couples with conflicting ideals, marriages illuminate the strengths and flaws in every heart … ‘Tales of Love and Despair’ offers moving examples of personal struggles. With its multifaceted approach to love, the book transcends culture to speak to wider human experiences.
—Clarion Reviews (Four Star Review)
Mahnaz Kousha’s new book, Tales of Love and Despair: Men in Love in Revolutionary Iran, presents eight compelling narratives of Iranian men struggling to find love and matrimonial happiness during the 1980s and 1990s. Based on extensive interviews the author conducted with the men, the very different experiences of each man falling in—and sometimes out of –love complicate our understanding of male gender attitudes and roles in one of the largest Muslim countries. This book is a highly satisfying read. These stories are real, not fiction, and collectively they contribute, albeit unintentionally, to the demolition of many stereotypes about Iran.
—Eric Hooglund, editor of ‘Middle East Critique’
“For decades now, Americans have seen mostly the public and political face of Iran, through the news media. Now, in these subtle and deeply moving short stories by Mahnaz Kousha, we are brought into the private spaces of Iranians during the period on either side of the revolution. The characters Kousha creates allow us to feel the lives of Iranians intimately. Through her steady voice and keen eye for detail, she helps us to understand a society that is quite different from our own, while also allowing us to feel the men and women who inhabit it are very much like ourselves, with similar needs, desires, and, yes, ordinary tragedies.”
—Greg Hewett, author of Blindsight
“These sensitive portraits of not necessarily sensitive men provide a glimpse inside a forbidden city. Mahnaz Kousha’s short stories explore the minds of people living in modern Tehran, and demonstrate the effects that regime changes and wars have on contemporary society. We see life doggedly carrying on after the revolution in Iran. We see resilience as well as sacrifices. We also see an admirable sense of duty and altruism among men and women. From a ground’s eye-view, these stories reaffirm the indomitable human spirit.”
—James Cihlar, author of The Shadowgraph