Sober and Sane Qualities

Sober and Sane Qualities

Another snarky typeface note!

Ok. It’s possible that it wasn’t intended as such, but as I’m the one reading it, I have deemed it thus.

The note comes from a book titled, “Censoring an Iranian Love Story” by Shahriar Mandanipour. A well-loved and controversial contemporary Iranian author, this is Mandanipour’s first novel available in English. It’s a sweet and tragic story, told in beautifully descriptive language that’s discreet yet imaginative. It’s also a love story that unfolds amongst the books in the library. As a lover of libraries myself, I’ve always considered such environs the most romantic of places because so much history exists there…people’s thoughts that never die away, insight and wisdom documented and shared with future generations, observations that change one’s perceptions, information that requires a response from the reader, but best of all, the expressions from deep within one heart addressed to the same secret parts of another…all of which sometimes require a revolution of some sort.

As the typeface note describes, this book is actually two books intertwined together to form one large framework of a very intricate existence. The lighter font is the story that can be published and is officially being told…except for the parts that have been stricken through for future removal yet are still readable. The darker font is the story the author wishes to tell, explaining why he cannot.

Sorrow and Joy weave through and manage to co-exist as the characters face many obstacles in their love for one another. But, by the end of the book, through all its alleys and byways, the author has melded me, the reader, and the characters into an intimacy that might be called friendship…even though we exist in culture so vastly different from one another…and in spite of the little fact that they might not even truly exist (my existence is a different topic altogether).

In spite of such potentially heart-rending material, the author’s clever and witty sense of humor allows for the reader to come away with hope. In spite of so many rules and limitations and arbitrary decisions, one can still think for one’s self and maintain humor in challenging situations…in this way, hope is kept alive. Such a delightful bit on the typeface at the end of the book proves rather serendipitous in this light. I don’t think the author could have asked for a better Epilogue than “reading qualities [of] lightness and grace [with] sober and sane qualities.”


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