EN HANDFULL VIND – A HANDFUL OF WIND
by Negar Naseh
On a balcony in Teheran, Minou and her son Nima are sitting and waiting. It’s the fall of 1978, she is pregnant and in the street below the revolution has picked up speed. Two years later the shah is overthrown, and in exile in Panama he fights to hide his disease from the outside world as well as his family. During the preparations for his last big appearance, an interview with the British journalist David Frost, the façade falls. The aftermath of the revolution reshapes everyone who gets in its way.
Half a life later in Sweden, Minou’s family is still wandering in the splinters of the past, of what could have been and what was. One day she gets a message about her mother being at death’s door and she decides to return to Iran.
A Handful of Wind is a novel about fight and flight, about vulnerability and solidarity.
ABOUT THE BOOK
To be published by Natur & Kultur, September 2022
France, Marabout Publishing
Sweden, Natur & Kultur
Negar Naseh’s novel ”A Handful of Wind” is a grandiose exile novel, filled with love for the Persian language and the Iranian culture landscape.
It’s the viability that appears the most strongly: how acts of care, strong family ties and Persian food culture can keep souls together, not make them burst. I like the calmness of the portrayal, which dampens the emotional states rather than enhancing them. The mobility of the gaze between the everyday details and the clouds’ flight over a shared sky is enough.
Negar Naseh switches from several points of view and the story spans over decades. What becomes my red thread is the plants, the spices, the rooms, the sisterhood and the food. Watermelon with chopped mint. Cooling soup made of yogurt. It’s at the dining table everything happens, the life that’s only passing. The cruelties, the everyday marriages and a mother learning how to swim in secret. It’s nicely portrayed.
Negar Naseh has succeeded in capturing a story that goes straight into the heart of the reader. The novel is beautifully written, since it partially has elements of the Persian language which makes the readers get even closer to the characters, whether you speak the language or not. Naseh has throughout the story portrayed the sorrow and unawareness that emerge when a person has to leave a country they love deeply. Repeatedly during my reading I couldn’t help but feel a sting in my heart, both from sadness and tenderness. But the strongest presence in the book is of course love. A love and hope that still exists despite all the years that have gone by. The strong love to the family and the tenderness for the friends that become a driving force for all the characters we meet through the book.
It’s an impressive construction of a novel […] And Naseh’s way of narrating arouses my admiration, where the suspense is building up slowly and convincingly, where everything happens in the concealed, in the dark, with secret connections that are only partially uncovered.
Björn Kohlström, author and critic
The language is very beautiful, the characters are insightfully portrayed, not at least the portrayal of the terminally ill shah is moving. A very well written and memorable story about some human fates during a revolutionary time, but also about what happened thereafter.
SmåLit’s Migrant Award 2023