In a daring literary tour-de-force, Iranian authoress Chahdortt Djavann writes a haunting exploration of memory and conscience from the point of view of an elderly male war photographer on the brink of death.
During a feverish inner dialogue, a dying photojournalist lives out his final hours in a hospital bed. During the most arduous and hallucinatory hours he has ever known, the memories come flooding back, and he is consumed with the anguish of having spent a lifetime looking through his camera lens at others, never having looked as closely at himself. From Rwanda to Vietnam, Bosnia to Lebanon, as well as Grozny, he leads us through an ambient chaos, filled with violence, war, and armed conflict, all melding with the photographer’s inner turmoil as the memories resurface, irrepressibly, going back even further to his childhood in Brittany, and ultimately to his mother’s death. Through these reminiscences, presented here as differing, parallel and overlapping prose “images”, Chahdortt Djavann oscillates between an individual’s reality and that of an embattled collective history. Both equally imbued with a Shakespearian sense of tragedy.