- Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 384 pages. Hardcover $$27.00
- Reviewed by Philip K. Jason
A dazzling tale of a person — and a country — in despair.
The provocative title of Dalia Sofer’s absorbing new novel leads readers to ask: “Aren’t we all creatures of our time?” The answer isn’t as simple as it seems and involves an exploration into the nature of what it means to be “of” a particular time and place.
Sofer, with great insight and urgency, depicts Iran — especially its capital city, Tehran — during a time of political and cultural transformation, which took that country’s people in multiple directions. She soaks us in the aftermath of its 1978 revolution, including what led up to it and what followed.
How does one navigate the shifting corridors of power? How can families hold together when circumstances propel members to take sides — sometimes out of sincere, principled sentiment; sometimes out of fear; and sometimes out of inertia? And to what configurations of national or religious identity should a person ally him or herself?
The main character in Man of My Time, Hamid Mozaffarian, wants to find his own path. But he seems doomed. He cannot negotiate life’s hurdles and, at bottom, doesn’t want to. He seems to enjoy his blend of numbness and pain.
He has managed to find a government sinecure as an interrogator, but it’s a job with strings attached: pleasing the higher-ups. Favors must be returned. . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the Washington Independent Review of Books, click here: Man of My Time