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What We Owe

What We Owe

Tehran, 1978: Nahid and Masood, both eighteen, are young lovers and young revolutionaries, determined to overthrow the Shah’s regime and help to bring about democracy. Their clandestine activities are dangerous, but with youth, passion and right on their side, they feel invincible. Then one night, Nahid allows her younger sister to come along to a huge demonstration. Violence breaks out. Nahid lets go of her sister’s hand. Everything changes.

As the revolution sours, and the loss becomes too much to bear, Nahid and Masood are forced to flee to Sweden, on borrowed money with forged passports. Tehran is no longer safe for them, and now they are expecting a baby; they need to get out before they lose everything.

Thirty years later, Nahid lies in a hospital bed replaying her life, raging at her carers, at her recent cancer diagnosis, at Masood, at her – now pregnant – daughter, and at her exile among people who while purporting to understand know nothing of what she has been through. Told with startling honesty, dark wit and an irresistible momentum, What We Owe is a novel of love, guilt and dreams for a better future, vibrating with both sorrow and an unquenchable joie de vivre.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 4th July 2019

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9780708898826

Reviews

Translated - gorgeously and simply - by Wessel, Nahid's sentences are short and thrillingly brutal, and the result is exhilarating. Hashemzadeh Bonde, unafraid of ugliness and seemingly unconcerned with likability, has produced a startling meditation on death, national identity, and motherhood. Always arresting, never sentimental; gut-wrenching, though not without hope
Kirkus
What We Owe refuses sentimental consolations . . . Terse, urgent prose-ably channelled by Elizabeth Clark Wessel, the translator-gives pace and heft to a novel of contagious trauma. Still, Ms Hashemzadeh Bonde lets in a closing ray of hope
The Economist
[A] short yet remarkable novel . . . Rather than a gentle meditation on a life lived to the full, What We Owe is filled with the rage of a woman who has been through trauma and loss, who has been left haunted by violence, and who wants more from those that love her
Stylist
I read this ferocious novel in one sitting, enthralled by the rage of its narrator. Nahid confronts her own suffering with dark humor and noisy honesty, while taking aim at a patriarchal tradition that expects her to be silent
Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks