The House That War Minister Built: Q&A Part 3

November 25, 2010 1 Comment

Q: Elahe, how much of this story comes from your family?

A: (Elahe) Really very little of it. Many of the events we used were based on events that actually happened, which, I think, confers a lot of credibility. But, we certainly altered them to fit into the story. We made a lot of stuff up, too, though it was always as culturally accurate as we could make it.

Q: Can you give us an example of one such true event?

A: (Elahe) Hmmm. O.K: The peasants fleeing from the “smoking carriage from America.”  One of my ancestors did purchase the first automobile in Iran – the peasants called it a smoking carriage – arranging its purchase through visiting Belgian railroad engineers. And the peasants did collect to see it demonstrated and they did flee in fright, destroying the peach crop in the process. The fumes and noise made them believe that it was the return of the lost Imam, the end of the world. History proved them wrong.

Q: Any favorites?

A: (Elahe) That’s a tough one, there are so many. I guess I’d say it wasn’t a particular event, but a famous joke about Mullah Nasr al’Din sitting down to a feast with other mullahs, when a wet dog jumps in shakes itself all over the food.

Q: And?

A: (Elahe, laughing) And, you’ll have to read the book.

A: (Andrew) We tend to think of Moslems as religious fanatics – thanks, as always, to our fair and balanced news media – but we forget that much of the society, particularly the intellectual elite, retains a sense of humor – even disdain – concerning their mullahs.

As for favorite parts, I would say that my favorite part is at the very, very end – and again you’ll have to read the book. But we made that part up.

Q: How about the characters, which would you say was your favorite?

A: (Elahe) Another tough one. Well – I would say Pari, Nargess’s daughter. She gets a bum rap from everywhere, and all she wanted was to be loved. She was a very tragic figure.

A: (Andrew) I think I would agree with Elahe on that. But I think a close second would be Pari’s cousin, Javad, the foolish lawyer. Overtly, he’s a comic – even farcical – character, but underneath that are failings with which we all can empathize. Also, in the future, we’re planning to do a whole novel around Saeed, Pari’s brother in law. He doesn’t come across as very sympathetic in this story, but we think a more extensive development of his story will change that – and it will make a compelling contrast.

Q: So, you’ve already started a sequel?

A: (Andrew) I wouldn’t call it that – not started, not a sequel. The latter term has such derogatory connotations. I would say we’re planning to fill out the story. I always admired the way Faulkner wrote so many stories about Yoknapatawpha County. They resonated with one another and the whole turned out much greater than the sum of its parts.

continue to part 4

One Comments to “The House That War Minister Built: Q&A Part 3”
  1. [...] for a continuation, please go to Part 3 Octavio [...]

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