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This is a memoir by Sydney-based doctor and writer/translator, Kooshyar Karimi, who in 2000 managed to flee, with his family, certain torture and death which stalked him on a daily basis in his native Iran. Karimi’s sin was his Jewishness and the fact that he helped desperate girls and women who had been raped, terminate the resulting pregnancies. Whilst many stories have come out of Iran in the last decade or so, nothing matches the grittiness of this portrayal of life in the crumbling alleyways and damp cellars of an Iranian slum district — the extreme poverty and desperation, the regular betrayals and compromises even within families, in the fight for survival. The memoir begins at his birth on the back seat of a police car in the sub-zero temperatures of a bleak and icy winter’s night. It finishes with a nail-biting telling of his eventual escape across the border into Turkey, only to be pursued by his nightmares, for which he seeks a measure of atonement in the writing of this book.
You can listen to an interview with Dr Kooshyar Karimi here on Radio National