“In August, newly released tapes of a mass execution shone a spotlight on the chaotic and violent years that followed Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, and on the schisms that reshaped the country’s politics during the 1980s. The tapes were released by the family of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who can be heard speaking before the execution. Montazeri, once the presumed successor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, became a thorn in the side of the regime as he advocated for prisoner rights. He is also an unseen force in Behrooz Ghamari’s timely novel, Remembering Akbar, a fictionalized prison memoir that evokes the unsettled early 1980s from the perspective of a political prisoner.

Laced through with dark humour and moments of humanity … Ghamari has crafted a compelling alternate view of history, imbuing a narrative often framed as inevitable with uncertainty and tension.”

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