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My Father's Notebook by Kader Abdolah
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My Father's Notebook (2000)

by Kader Abdolah

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English (7)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Superb novel in superb Dutch by someone who escaped from Iran long time ago. I have a copy signed by Kader Abdolah himself. He used to live in my hometown. ( )
  M.J.Meeuwsen | Dec 11, 2010 |
I absolutely loved this book ( )
  Gabriela50 | Feb 20, 2008 |
I love this book. I read it on a rainy sunday on my coach in the Netherlands, but Kader Abdollah made me feel like I was in Iran. ( )
  Tjarda | Sep 4, 2007 |
Story about a deaf mute and his son. Also about Persia, old and new. Slow paced. Disjointed narrative flow which I found distracting. The notebook of the title is actually the son's memories of his father. Ultimately affecting tribute. ( )
  judye | May 19, 2007 |
The main character in this book is a deafmute man, Aga Akbar, living in a small village in the mountains of Iran. He can't write, but he teaches himself to write in a fashion only he can read. His son goes to university and gets involved in resistance against the shah. When at the revolution it turns out that the mullahs are even worse than the shah, he has to flee. Akbar doesn't seem to be fully aware of the politics going on, but despite the love of the son for his father, Akbar gradually gets involved. He loves his son, what his son does must be ok. Also,the deafmute may be deaf and mute, but he's not stupid.

The book is intriguing, catching, emotional. Abdolah went through a similar phase in his life, so i can't imagine that much of the book is autobiographic. Abdolah's father was a deafmute.

I find it remarkable that a person who has started to learn Dutch only years ago, is capable not only to speak and write the language fluently, but also to write good novels. ( )
1 vote xtien | May 6, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Abdolah writes in staccato sentences using a simple vocabulary, and the narration is often heavy-handed. The use of tapestry as a structuring metaphor is too familiar a convention for Abdolah to make it fresh. But he doesn't need to: the reader is skilfully wrapped up in the fabric of semi-autobiographical stories. My Father's Notebook reads like a detective story: information is withheld so that we gradually discover the background to Ishmael's exile.

Like Orhan Pamuk's Snow, the novel portrays the sense of rootlessness in the secular west and the religious oppression of Islamic countries. But unlike Pamuk's unrelentingly dark brooding, Abdolah leaves pockets of cheerfulness, such as a hilarious anecdote about Ishmael dressed up and dancing like a Parisian schoolboy, mocking the westernising shah.
 
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And so it went until the men of Kahaf finally sought refuge in the cave.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Synopsis for the Dutch edition:
"Een grote roman over liefde, verraad, dood en religie in een even sprookjesachtig als woelig Perzië. Aga Akbar, de doofstomme vader van Ismaiel, heeft in de loop van zijn leven een boek geschreven. In een zelf ontworpen spijkerschrift. Na zijn dood in de Perzische bergen wordt het boek bij zijn naar Nederland gevluchte zoon bezorgd. Ismaiel probeert het leesbaar te maken, net zoals hij zijn vader vroeger verstaanbaar moest maken. Zo tovert Kader Abdolah het leven van Aga Akbar en zijn zoon Ismaiel tevoorschijn."
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060598727, Paperback)

When he was a boy, Aga Akbar, the deaf-mute illegitimate son of a Persian nobleman, traveled with his uncle to a cave on nearby Saffron Mountain. Once there, he was to copy a three-thousand-year-old cuneiform inscription—an order of the first king of Persia—as a means of freeing himself from his emotional confinement. For the remainder of his life, Aga Akbar used these cuneiform characters to fill a notebook with writings only he could understand. Years later, his son, Ishmael—a political dissident in exile—is attempting to translate the notebook . . . and in the process tells his father's story, his own, and the story of twentieth-century Iran.

A stunning and ambitious novel by a singular literary talent, My Father's Notebook is at once a masterful chronicle of a culture's troubled voyage into modernity and the poignant, timeless tale of a son's enduring love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Exiled in Europe, and separated from all he loves most, rebel Ishmael confronts his family's biggest mystery - who was the man who was his father? The only clue is the strange notebook his father, Aga Akbar, left behind - a book written in his own private script." "As Ishmael struggles to decipher his father's story, a tale worthy of Scheherezade emerges. It tells of a carpet-weaver from the depths of rural Persia; a deaf mute who leaves his beloved home to try and give his family a better life in modern Tehran; a man passionately devoted to his children, who is eventually brought down by their dangerous politics."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Canongate Books

An edition of this book was published by Canongate Books.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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