This is a book that won’t be fenced in by the boundaries of a “novel”; a book based on the author’s memories, hence semi-autobiographical, but the author shifts the time of his own youth by about 15 years to the 1978 Islamic Revolution, when he himself was in his early twenties. The focus is on literature, mainly classical Persian literature; not its official interpretation, but its subversive currents, its homoerotic, its pornographic parts. In many ways, it is an ambiguous book, which is also reflected in the language Jutta Himmelreich translates into German: at times flowery, at times sarcastic, at times completely austere. It is a coming-of-age story from Tehran, a literary history seminar, a retelling of time-honored tales, a story of historical upheavals and disasters, and all that in a book that, like all of Cheheltan’s books in recent years, will not be published in its original language for some time.
— Verena Lueken, jury
Amir Hassan Cheheltan studied electrical engineering in England, took part in the Iraq War and published novels and volumes of short stories in Tehran. He lived in Italy with his family for two years due to threats from the regime. His novel Teheran, Revolutionsstraße (Revolution Street) was published in 2009 as an initial worldwide release in German, followed by Teheran, Apokalypse and Teheran, Stadt ohne Himmel. His most recent novel is Der Kalligraph von Isfahan. Cheheltan writes for FAZ, SZ and ZEIT.