• The House of the Mosque by Kader Abdollah

    The House of the Mosque is an epic tale surrounding a variety of characters in a family who have been guardians of the Mosque for centuries. It is set in Senejan, a traditional town in Iran and starts in 1969, as the Shah and American influences begin to infiltrate the family’s life.

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    Aqa Jaan, the story teller and ‘Dear Master’, bears witness, while the members of his family come and go. His cousin Alsabera, the weak yet kind Imam of the mosque; His renegade photographer brother, Nosrat; Muezzin, the blind pottery maker who has an innate clock inside him; his wife Fakhri Sadat, who likes to draw the birds and use them in her lustrous carpet designs; not to mention the comings and goings of the many children of the house.
    So many subjects are covered. Sex, violence, religion, communism, youth, old age, political upheavel, birth, death, failed marriages and disability. The many religious references are not overbearing, but symbolic to the story and give hidden meaning. Although a complex, multi-layered story, it is certainly not hard to read, indeed it is captivating.

    Abdolah paints a vivd picture of life, transporting the reader to the world of Aqa Jaan, and the busom of the family. We watch as the family grows older, and times change. Come 1979, the respectable family soon falls from grace as the Islamic revolution takes hold of Senejan, and horrifying realities are faced. The family is torn at the seams, and even the Mosque becomes a foreign place to them. However one room remains, secret, in the depths of the cellar: the Treasure Room. Here the family chronicles lie, telling stories years after they have been forgotten.

    I found the story both entertaining and also educational. Although fictional is tackles many of the issues that are still prominent in the region today, and helped explain to me the relationship between the West and the Middle East. The historical basis uses a lot of literary licence, but nonetheless is well worth a read. This is definitely an emotional rather than factual account.

    If you enjoyed The Kite Runner, you will enjoy this book. Don’t read it if historical fact is important to you!

    5/5 Ms Winos


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    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Auld_Yin's Avatar
      Auld_Yin -
      Thanks for this Mooms. Sounds worth a read to me.
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