The Blind Owl

Written by Sadegh Hedayat

Peel: Following the narrator’s descent into madness, a dark tale examining the human condition.

This is quite bluntly, an amazing piece of work. Hedayat certainly isn’t named as the father of modern Iranian prose for nothing. At only a hundred and thirty pages the book can be read in an afternoon, and merits plenty of rereads to attempt to understand the novel. Hedayat’s language and imagery is stunning. Hedayat is like a cross between Poe and Marquez, with emphasis on Poe. This is one of the better accounts of an insane mind that I’ve read; for example, the narrator will repeat certain images without connecting them to other identical instances.

If you like knowing exactly what’s going on all the time, then I certainly wouldn’t recommend this book to you. Between the magical realism, insane mind, and the narration switching to earlier in his life for the second part, it isn’t always strictly following a predictive arc- but is very enjoyable if you don’t mind that.

Nibble: “His face was ravaged and old, and his hair- the terror aroused by the sound of the cobra’s body as it slid across the floor, by its furious hissing, by its gleaming eyes, by the thought of its poisonous fangs and of its loathsome body shaped like a long neck terminating in a spoon-shaped protuberance and a tiny head, the horror of all this had changed my uncle, by the time he walked out of the room, into a white-haired old man.”

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys magical realism.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 ethereal and shadowed apples

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