Saturday, August 30, 2008

Five best funny books: Firoozeh Dumas

Firoozeh Dumas, author of Laughing Without an Accent and Funny in Farsi, named a five best list of funny books the Wall Street Journal.

One title on her list:
My Uncle Napoleon
by Iraj Pezeshkzad, translated by Dick Davis
Mage, 1996

It's difficult to exaggerate the popularity in Iran during the 1970s of "Dayee Jon Napoleon" -- both the novel and the TV comedy series based on it. Literally translated as "Dear Uncle Napoleon" but called "My Uncle Napoleon" in its English version, the story centers on three Tehran families in the 1940s living under the thumb of an egotistical patriarch who believes himself the incarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte. He is also extremely paranoid, believing, among other things, that the British are responsible for all of Iran's misfortunes. To this day, Iranians use the phrase "Uncle Napoleon" to describe a conspiracy theorist. The book and TV series were of course banned in Iran after the 1979 revolution -- ensuring their popularity with a new generation.
Read about another title on Dumas' list.

--Marshal Zeringue