The Age of Orphans
A NovelBook - 2009 | First U.S. edition.
The story of a Kurdish boy forced to betray his people in service of the new Iranian nation, and the tragic consequences as he grows into manhood.
Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros Mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he is orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new shah, he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, renamed Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step.
The Age of Orphans follows Reza through his meteoric rise in rank, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman, and his eventual deployment, as a colonel, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and his carefully crafted persona begins to crack.
Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the twentieth-century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress, and modernity, who cannot help but yearn for the impossible dreams of love, land, and home.