During the fundamentalist revolution in Iran, a 17-year-old girl is arrested by the Revolutionary Guards. She is not political, but her brother and sister-n-law are, so she is suspect too. She is confined in a former bathhouse with several other women ranging in age from adolescence to elderly, whose mental states vary from the stoic and care-giving to the insane. Based on interviews with several Iranian women who had been imprisoned in such a bathhouse, this novel documents the torment they endured and honors their humanity and courage. Winner of the 2001 Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction.
About the Author
Farnoosh Moshiri was born into a literary family in Teheran, Iran. Under threat of death from the new regime, she escaped from Iran in 1983. She has lived in the United States since 1987. She graduated from the University of Houston's creative writing program where she won the Barthelme Memorial Fellowship. Crazy Dervish...is her third book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Bathhouse based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Once in a while a book comes along that you start to read and you can't put down until you finish reading it. This is one such book. The naive school girl who is taken to a horrible political prison starts out as any young, innocent and naive teenager who is not interested or involved in politics. But once there, she witnesses and experiences what is happening to political prisoners, in this case women prisoners, behind the prison walls all in the name of God and all because they do not agree with the ideology of the ruling class. This is not a story limited to a country or conflict. It is a universal story that can happen, has happened and is happening in many countries. But, Farnoosh Moshiri somehow takes us along with her young protagonist through the events of this book so that it is as if we are experiencing them with her. The writing is powerful yet natural and flowing and you just can't stop reading until the end. And, when you close the book, it is as if you have matured along side the protagonist, all in the short span of a month for her and just hours for you, but the lessons will stay with you for a lifetime. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to young women.
Ms. Morshiri's simple yet strong description of feelings, moods, actions, views and interactions between the characters put the reader right inside The Bathhouse. Daily trivial phenomena such as day turning to night, night creatures singing, hating or loving, making friends or discovering enemies, beautiful and ugly, all take a different, new, nothing-like-before meaning. You can see human's conscious and subconscious, guided with his instincts, at work every minute of the character's journey. You will be left in awe upon realizition that a human is capable of showing such strength at the peak of hopelessness. My deepest regards to the author.
Moshiri's direct style in this novella conveys a powerful set of images, giving both an inside sensibility of the nubile young woman protagonist and an outside, graphic rendering of the brutal extremes of repressive forces in religious fundamentalist regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Afghani Taliban and its Mujahadeen predecessor, and the Zionist Israeli Entity. Moshiri weaves, with consumate artistry, the tender sensitivity of an innocent, blossoming young woman with the abject debasement of human dignity at the hands of prison administrators and guards. The experiences of the protagonist and her sisters in this horror of counterrevolution, religious fundamentalism in power, will leave you with an awareness of the depth of strength of human spirit, the irrepressible sensitivity and needs of young womanhood, and the vulerability we all carry within us that cannot be gained from the nightly CNN and other network accounts of events in the mideast today.