“At turns hilarious and deeply unnerving, this is contemporary Tehran as never seen before” – Justin Torres.
Written in 2008, this first English translation of In Case of Emergency (original title Don’t Worry) by Mariam Rahmani, has recently been published by The Feminist Press (November 2021). That it ever got past the authorities and was able to find an Iranian publisher was a feat in itself. In her translator’s note, Mariam Rahmani puts it down to the censor “being so distracted by the form of the novel that he forgot about the content“. Once published it caused a literary sensation, going on to win the Hooshang Golshiri Literary Award, which is comparable to the Pulitzer and one of the few literary prizes in Iran not controlled by the government.
Let’s just say that the Tehran Tourist Board do not want you to read this book. Earthquakes, drug use and addiction, civil unrest and police brutality all feature within the novel’s discombobulating one hundred and fifty pages. Described as a satirical portrait of the disaster that is contemporary Iranian life, if you are looking for a no-context, rollercoaster tour of Iran’s capital city, seen through the eyes of a young opium addict trying to find her next fix in the middle of a natural disaster, then this is the book for you.
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