What We Owe (Paperback)
  • What We Owe (Paperback)
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What We Owe (Paperback)

(author), (translator)
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£8.99
Paperback 192 Pages
Published: 04/07/2019
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Winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in fiction

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.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780708898826
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 180 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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

[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

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

Here is an extraordinary story of exile, dislocation, and the emotional minefields between mothers and daughters; a story of love, guilt and dreams for a better future, vibrating with both sorrow and an unquenchable joie de vivre. With its startling honesty, dark wit, and irresistible momentum, What We Owe introduces a fierce and necessary new voice in international fiction - Judges of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

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“5/5”

This book is a very intense and thrilling read, it is packed full of energy, danger, love and loss throughout.

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

“A really super book...”

....which grips you from the start; weaving in politics, family, the fragility of life and the ultimate untimeliness of death.
This novel was read over two days, the flow of the book draws you in and you just keep on... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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