“Marx et la poupée” by Maryam Madjidi

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A novel that mixes poetry and prose, the diary of a past life between Tehran and Paris, recounting its lost and rediscovered origins. Maryam Madjidi’s debut novel is an original and well-written fresco that will captivate you to the core.

Marx et la poupée

Iran, late 1970s. Maryam’s parents are young, communists and in love with their country. But Iran is sinking into one of the most obscurant regimes of the modern era, and the family is forced to flee. When, at the age of six, Maryam reaches her father in exile in France, to welcome her is first of all a new language, which she immediately refuses, and then instead chooses it as the only possible lifesaver, to the point of rejecting any reference to origins: I am not a tree, I have no roots ”.

Maryam Madjidi

Only years later, when the words begin to fail for her tired parents, Maryam finds the strength to turn back, recovering the language as the only tool to regain memory.

A life in memories

Maryam Madjidi’s is not a book with a linear history, she prefers to fly with concepts and poetry in pursuit of her beloved Omar Khayyam. So don’t expect a timeline or anything like that, the novel is a continuous relationship between the writer’s childhood and her rediscovery of Persian identity as an adult. The result, however, is not confusing but always manages to be a sweet and at times moving portrait.

Maryam Madjidi
Maryam Madjidi

The book constantly breathes the melancholy of those who have lost their roots, but everything never turns out to be too heavy thanks to the beauty of the text, often more similar to a prose poem, and its originality.

Between Paris and Tehran

The novel is always very intense and draws above all on the writer’s childhood, who passed between a Tehran in full revolution and the Paris of the banlieu. Poetry arises above all from the contrast created between the encounter of the new culture / language with the old.

“Then the Frenchman wraps the little girl in his royal cloak of lilies and elite. They proceed together towards a great edifice of liberté, égalité and fraternité. Fragments of paper dance above their heads: exemplary report cards, well-deserved praise, applauded poems whirl happily escorting them . The Persian, sitting a little distant on a bench, watches them go away. Thoughtful old woman, surrounded by a thick solitude, with the tip of her stick she sweeps some leaves and paper along with old dreams of the past. “

For the first time, the work done in education across the Channel to “Frenchize” foreigners emerges clearly and in various passages of the novel. A behavior that to us tourists often sounds arrogant but which can be destructive for those who live there.

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Maryam Madjidi
Paris and Teheran

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