Tehran Noir ed by Salar Abdoh

As people who follow me know, I am very into the Akashic Noir series of books. This is my fifth or sixth review of a book in the series. The series focuses on a city or country and every story is written by a different author. I can’t recommend the series highky enough.

Tehran Noir was one of the best I have read so far. One of my the main reasons I enjoyed it so thoroughly is because it gives readers and alternate picture of Tehran from the people who live there. And everything you think you know about that city and Iran, you should pretty much toss out.

The book is divided into four parts: The Crime Pages, When a War’s Not Over, Proper Burial and The Executioners Song. Every story was strong and every one can stand on its own but I did have my favorites.

From The Crime Pages, I loved “Fear Is the Best Keeper of Secrets” by Rey. It is kind of an underworld story and it has a cast of characters that are so well drawn, you can imagine it as a movie. Great stuff.

In the next section, I loved “The Whitest Set of Teeth in Tehran” by Salar Abdoh. I just could not put the book down while I read that story. All of the stories in part two reflect life where war is the primary occupation of most people and how difficult it is to get to a peaceful place.

If you think women do not have power in Iran, I can disabuse you of that idea just by reading this book. They are leading a silent revolution and my favorite story in the whole book was “My Own Marble Jesus” by Mahsa Mohebali. That story was simply brilliant and spoke to the issues of all kinds of minorities in a country run by religion. So powerful and just a wonderful piece.

My second favorite was “The Restlessness of a Serial Killer at the Finish Line” by Shush. It was quite chilling and also very interesting. It is about death and it does have both a grim and grisly quality but I can highly recommend it.

The final section piece that I enjoyed was written set in what many in the Iranian community call Tehrangeles, which is Los Angeles. It is written from the point of view of an expat. Very entertaining.

Even with my favorites, there is really not a bad story in the bunch. I highly recommend this book. It provides a glimpse into a life and culture that too often is damned by slanted news media portrayals. Tehran is more than the news.

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