Sunday May 19, 2013
The Burnt City: A Novel of Iran on the Eve of Revolution by Robert Bangor gets two thumbs up from socio-political hip-hop artistSalem-News.com
The Warriors of Truth, who open the book with a bank robbery, vie with Kurds, SAVAK, a US CIA contractor, and several individuals for the prize...
(TUCSON, Ariz.) - The Islamic Republic of Iran is much in the news these days with the spectre of nuclear warfare now looming in the background. What was life like in Iran just before the return of Ayatollah Khomaini to his native land in early 1979? A new book by Robert Bangor gives one spectator’s view of the country, neatly dressed in an entertaining tale.
Robert Bangor lived in Iran and witnessed the Revolution and the return of Ayatollah Khomaini. He is fluent in Persian and a knowledgeable observer of Muslim culture, especially that of Iran. His book sparkles with authenticity and keen observation.
“THE BURNT CITY: A Novel of Iran on the Eve of Revolution” gives the reader a different slant on the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978-79. Against a background of marches, strikes, and violence, several groups and individuals are in pursuit of loot, not political change—at least not until they get their hands on the money. The characters are sharply drawn and represent not only West and East, but also class struggle, conflicting aspirations, pure greed, and even innocence. And behind it all looms the Iranian predicament: change is necessary but in which direction?
The Warriors of Truth, who open the book with a bank robbery, vie with Kurds, SAVAK, a US CIA contractor, and several individuals for the prize. The action moves them from Tehran to southeastern Iran in one of the most forbidding places on the planet: the Kavir-e Lut—the Naked Desert. Their journeys end at its edge in the Burnt City.
“The book is simply amazing,” says Agron Belica. “If the action is not enough, the author spices the adventure with touches of humor, irony, and surprises, plus an adroit manipulation of the characters from crisis to crisis. As the story develops, the focus moves to the machinations of the CIA contractor, Mitchell Ritchie, and to the “new” woman, Margaret Lexler, who is unwillingly caught up in the avarice of others. Plot twists and cliffhangers abound, but the tale is not without pathos and introspective moments of considerable beauty.
“I found The Burnt City very entertaining. I enjoyed the character sketches and the variety of the story. Just when I thought I had it figured out, the author turns the tables on the reader. I can heartily recommend it to anyone who likes adventure spiced with a little greed and lust in exotic settings, and does not mind learning something about Iran and Iranians in a pleasurable way. In short, reading it is a good way to spend a few hours of your leisure.”— Agron Belica, socio-political hip-hop artist and lyricist and the author of “The Revival of the Prophet Yahya” and “The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity?”
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