Esmail Fassih


FASIH, Esma’il (Esmāʿil Faṣiḥ, a.k.a. Nāṣer; b. Tehran, 21 February 1935; d. Tehran, 15 July 2009), eminent Persian novelist and translator (Figure 1). 

i. Life

Fasih was born in Bāzārča-ye Darḵungāh, in the neighborhood of Galubandak, in the then central precincts of Tehran. He was the last child of Arbāb Ḥassan, an illiterate grocery store owner who passed away when Fasih was barely three years old, and Turān Ḵanom, Arbāb Ḥassan’s second wife (Badiʿ, p. 1; Kamāli Dehqān, 2009, p. 8). Fasih grew up in an overcrowded home among his nine other surviving siblings. After finishing his six years of grade study at ʿOnṣori Elementary School at the top of his class in 1947, he continued his schooling at Rahnemā High School where he received a diploma during the turbulent final months of Moṣaddeq’s premiership in 1953 (see COUP D’ETAT OF 1332 Š./1953). The imprints of this period of his life deeply and extensively inform all of his writing.  His Dard-e Siāvaš (The Pain of Siavash, 1985) is historically and symbolically based on this tragic moment in Iran’s modern history.

Fasih left Iran in 1956, and eventually ended up in Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana. Beginning with his junior year at the college, he transferred to the University of Montana in Missoula where he earned a BS in Chemistry and a BA in English.  Upon graduation, he moved to San Francisco, where he fell passionately in love and married Annabel Campbell, a Norwegian girl.  Fasih and his pregnant bride moved to Washington, D.C. in early 1962, where she and their child died due to childbirth complications. Fasih was devastated (Kamāli Dehqān, 2007a, p. 1). This personal tragedy also finds its way into the whole of his fiction, beginning with his first novel Šarāb-e Ḵām (Raw wine, 1968), but centrally in ʿEšq o marg (Love ’n death, 2004), which together with the aborted nationalist movement of Moṣaddeq, dwells at the deepest level of Fasih’s view of the world.

Fasih returned to Tehran in 1962 and after a brief stint with the Franklin Publishing Institute (see FRANKLIN BOOK PROGRAM) as translator found employment as a teacher with the National Iranian Oil Company’s (NIOC) Industrial Vocational High School (Honarestān Ṣanʿati) in Ahvaz in the late summer of 1963. He owed this employment to the intercession of Sadeq Chubak, himself a writer and an employee of the same company in Tehran. The two writers developed a friendship that lasted through the death of Chubak in 1998 (Badiʿ, pp. 2-3).

A year later, in the summer of 1964, Fasih married Paričehr ʿEdālat in Ahvaz. They had two children: a daughter, Sālumeh (b. 1965), and a son Šahryār (b. 1970). It was while the family was stationed in Ahvaz that Fasih spent over a year (1968-69) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to earn a MA degree in English literature. When Fasih returned to Iran, he was transferred to Abadan to teach at Abadan Institute of Technology, a post he held until the siege of Abadan at the start of Iraq’s invasion of Iran (see IRAQ vii. IRAN-IRAQ WAR) forced the school’s closure, and his retirement as an assistant professor in 1980.

Fasih devoted the remaining years of his life almost entirely to writing until his death on 15 July 2009 due to brain hemorrhage in the National Iranian Oil Company’s hospital in Tehran. He is buried in the artists’ plot of Behešt-e Zahrāʾ cemetery in the south of Tehran.

ii. Work 

Fiction. Fasih, with twenty-one published novels and five published collections of short stories, occupies a unique place among the contemporary writers of Persian fiction. Over a writing career spanning more than four decades, he established himself as an outstanding chronicler of his nation’s turbulent predicament over the same period (Badiʿ, p. 1; Ferdowsi, ZEMESTĀN-E 62). 

Fasih had a prodigious fascination with fiction from an early age (Kamāli Dehqān, 2009, p. 8). His facility with English, a skill he had largely developed before leaving Iran, allowed him to gain direct access to American fiction, whose overall influence on his work is hard to deny (Rajabi, p. 10). His first success as a writer came when a short story he wrote as a student of English Literature in Montana, apparently an English version of “Ḵāla Turi” (Auntie Turi) later published in his collection of short stories, Ḵāk-e āšenā (Familiar soil, 1970), placed second in his class, earning him a one hundred dollar award, and the professor’s admiration, “I think we have a writer on our hand,” a praise that left a lasting impression on Fasih (Kamāli Dehqān, 2009, 9; see also 

Fasih’s debut in Persian is Šarāb-e ḵām, in which he not only introduces Jalal Arian (Jalāl Āriān), the narrator of 15 of the 21 of his forthcoming novels, and the protagonist of the vast majority of his stories, but also virtually all the major themes, supporting characters, narrative strands and plot twists that create a distinctly Fasihian style in modern Persian fiction (Ojākiāns, pp. 17-22). This continuity underlines Fasih’s concept of the author as a craftsman, and writing as the practice of a technique of meticulously, deliberately and tightly structuring not only a novel, but a whole career of writing; an approach very close to the one known in the West as Constructivism. 

Evidence of this advanced imagining of a world to be created, defined and filled in, may already be found through Fasih’s depiction of Nāṣer Tajaddod, an aspiring writer in Šarāb-e ḵām. Born like Fasih and Jalal Arian in Darḵungāh and returned from abroad to become a professional writer, Tajaddod appears as the writerly avatar of Fasih and speaks his thoughts, concerns, and ambitions of retrieving the glorious literary past of Iran by creating a literature equivalent in its grandeur as the national task of Persian novel, the impossibility of that he has already sensed. The author of an unpublished novel named, symbolically, Az ḵākestrhā (From the ashes), he is in the end buried alive by well-meaning villagers of a symbolically named village Sarāb  (Mirage).

Ḵāk-e āšenā, Fasih’s first collection of short stories was published in 1970. It chronicles, in five interrelated sections, the tale of Arian’s family from the moment Arbāb Ḥassan, Jalal’s father, leaves his hunger stricken home village, sets foot in Tehran in the final years of Nāṣer al-Din Shah’s reign in 1891, and settles in Darḵungāh, the same neighborhood in which Fasih’s second novel, Del-kur (Blind in heart, 1972), takes place. Del-kur begins in a midnight, when Ṣādeq Arian, the narrator of the story, a USA educated medical doctor and the youngest son of Arbāb Ḥassan, wakes up by a phone call to hear that Moḵtār, the eldest son of the family, has died presumably of a heart attack, and ends before dawn the next morning (Šarifi, p. 644). Throughout these few hours, however, the narrator takes a long internal journey and reconstructs, in chronological order, the tragic scenes of the family’s bygone past, dimly colored by Moḵtār’s cruelty and greed. The cast of characters consists mainly of Jalal Arian’s stepbrothers, the children of Arbāb Ḥassan from his first wife Kowkab Ḵānom. Moḵtār, the evil incarnate as remembered by the narrator (Ojākiāns, p. 30), has raped and impregnated their maid, Gol-Maryam, has eloped with a married women with whom he has a son named Qadir, has beaten his younger brother Rasul into mental disorder and after appropriating Arbāb Ḥassan’s inheritance fraudulently, has turned into a callous businessman. The more the past enunciates through the theme, structure and setting of the novel, the more Rasul’s voice, a herald of love and forgiveness in the novel, reverberates in Ṣādeq Arian’ s mind, and compels him to recognize that Moḵtār is not alone in his being blind in the heart.  Fasih’ s progressive capacity for introspection is well manifested in the final pages of Del-kur, and acquires a numinous overtone in his later novels (Mirʿābedini, 1, pp. 655-56; Rezaii-zadeh,; for Fasih’s interest in mysticism see also his Bāda-ye kohan, 1994). The novel is also acclaimed for its intricate and accurate depiction of life in this middle-class neighborhood in Tehran from 1930s to 1960s (Badiʿ p. 63; Ojākiāns, pp. 23-24; Sepānlu, pp. 183-84). 

Of Fasih’s twenty-one published novels, two in particular have received comparatively wide and serious critical attention: Ṯorayyā dar eḡmāʾ (1984; translated into English by author as Sorayya in a Coma, London, 1985; and into Arabic by Muhammad ʿAlāʾal-Din Manṣur as Thorayya fi ghaybuba, Cairo, 1999), and Zemestān-e 62 (translated into German by Mohammad H. Allafi and Sabine Allafi as Winter 83: Roman (Frankfurt, 1998); and into Arabic by Muhammad ʿAlāʾal-Din Manṣur as Šitāʾ 84, Cairo, 2000).

The events in both novels happen during, or shortly after, the traumatic years of Iraq’s invasion of Iran. In the first, while Iran is suffering the wounds of war, Arian is forced to go on a futile trip to Paris to attend to his comatose niece Ṯorayyā, and while tending to her conditions, finds himself among a motley crew of Iran’s expatriates, who cut off from the objective realities of Iran in the first years of the Islamic Revolution, live in the remote island of their isolation in Paris (Navvabpour, 427-28; Kalāntari, pp. 283-93; Šāyesta, pp. 269-82). Zemestān -e 62 takes place in Iran, almost entirely in the war torn areas of the country’s southwest that took the brunt of Iraq’s devastating invasion. Although consisting of multiple plot strands, this novel is ultimately about two young men, Edris Āl-e Maṭrud, an Iranian Arab who has vanished in the war front, and Manṣur Farjām, a US-educated Iranian computer scientist, and an avatar of Fasih, who returns to Iran to mystically in effect annihilate himself into its soil by going to the front to a certain death (Mirzabenevis).

Although neither of these two novels could fully be regarded as novels of war, at least in the narrow sense of this classification (Haag-Higuchi, p. 255), they both delineate in graphic details the entanglement of the personal lives of a cast of characters with the effects and the meaning of the war, regardless of their political and ideological backgrounds (Yarshater, pp. 476-79; Yavari, 1999, p. 587). In both of them, as noted by a critic, the war functions like a prism that divided the Iranians for several years by their varied responses to revolution (Ojākiāns, pp.67-80; see also Hossein Nush Azar). Fasih’s own sentiments in both novels is clearly with those who stayed in, or returned to Iran, and fought, as emblematized in the figure of Manṣur Farjām in Zemestān-e 62 (Mohājerāni, pp. 243-48; Yavari, 1990, pp. 61-74), and not with those who, in his view, abandoned their country for a life of self-pity in Parisian cafés which he unsympathetically depicts in Ṯorrayā dar eḡmāʾ. It is this very act of staying in Iran that defines Jalal Arian, and by extension Fasih himself, as a narrator who stands witness to the predicament of his nation by his inability to abandon it. Iran, as Fasih says about “The Contemporary Writer,” a fictionalized version of himself, is his “womb… and [his] grave.”  (Fasih, 1987, p. 838)

Talḵ-kām (Bitter end, 2007), Fasih’s last published novel, is also narrated by Jalal Arian, who is tasked to go to London in the first year of the Islamic revolution, before the start of Iran-Iraq war and his forced retirement, to purchase computerized equipment for his college’s language laboratory. While pursuing this task, he learns about a 91 year-old retired Zoroastrian Iranian professor who is confined to a gated assisted-living facility for the elderly somewhere to the south of the city. The man, once an illustrious professor in Oxford, is, notwithstanding some inconsistencies, none other than Jāvid Firuzpur, the young hero of the Dāstān-e Jāvid (Javid’s story, Tehran, 1980; translated into Arabic by Salim ʿAbd al-Amir Ḥamdān as Qeṣṣa-ye Jāwid, Cairo, 2000). On a state of perpetual demise, the professor alternates between moments of lucidity, long episodes of prayer in Avestan language, and weeks of comatose.

Fasih’s novels, especially those about Jalal Arian, may be arranged either by their dates of publication, or by the dates interior to the text, the dates when the events of the text take place. Following the publication dates, we go with Jalal Arian through the past four decades (1968-2006) of Iran’s contemporary history. In them we see, among other things, changes in culture (for in stance as Iran goes from being run as a secular state to a religionist regime), changes in daily life (e.g. introduction of new technologies), in language (e.g. new slangs, new names for cities, streets, allies, etc.), and changes in demands of censorships (e.g. Arian’s often humorous inability to name the alcoholic drinks he downs every night as part of his nightly regiment of going to sleep) with which writing in Iran has to contend. Few, if any, author in modern Persian literature allow us to trace the effects of social, political, cultural and linguist changes over so long a period as they are reflected in the world of Jalal Arian, his family and friends (Mirʿābedini, 1, p. 647).

Setting aside Farār-e Foruhar (Furuhar’s flight, 1993), and Panāh bar Hafez (Beseeching Hafez, 1996), however, Fasih’s stories, if arranged by the interior time of the narratives, manage to seamlessly cover an entire century of modern Iranian history. There is no major turning point since the assassination of Nāṣer al-Din Shah (Ṭašt-e ḵun, 1997), to the Iran-Iraq War up to the more recent decades of the Iranian history (Dar enteẓār, 2000, and Gerdābi čonin ḥāʾel, 2002), that is not covered by one or more of Fasih’s novels and short stories. In these, and other stories, Fasih not only draws a veritable genealogical tree of Jalal’s family, but also the life of an entire neighborhood over the course of a century. Darḵungāh is the toponymic counterpart of Jalal Arian, at once realistic and symbolic, textual and meta-textual. Again, no other modern Persian novelist has ever made a man, his family and friends, and his neighborhood the subject of a sustained labor of fiction writing over the course of many novels and short stories.

Jalal Arian appears as fully formed in Šarāb-e ḵām, Fasih’s first novel, as we see him decades later in Ṯorayyā dar eghmāʾZemestān-e 62, and in his last published work Talḵkām. He ages in the fictional world of Fasih, and the wear and tear of life begins to affect his health and looks, even deepen his sense of irony, but the fundamentals of his character, and the script of his actions, remain the same. He remains the same tall, bony man, loved by woman, who is naturally drawn to helping those in need of help, those who are wronged by the evil that dwells in the world, prototypically a damsel in distress, which in turn, more often than not, drives the plot forward. Even when Jalal is not the narrator or the protagonist, his story provide context for Fasih’s fiction.

This pervasive presence of the same narrator and protagonist, replicated at the thematic level by his worldview and his notion of fate and death, underlines Fasih’s concept of the enigmatic relationship between the world of the novel and the world that lies outside, between the author and his biography and the characters, events and places in the novels. It also offers a glimpse into Fasih’s notion of Iranian history and his literary ambition to annihilate biography and history in the unity of literature.

Two works of Fasih, Farār-e Foruhar and the short story “Ḥarekat” in the collection ʿAqd o dāstānhā-ye digar (Wedding and other stories1978), are particularly suggestive of the “mystical” annihilation of the protagonist into the totality of his nation, its land and its history, and account for the double unity of historical and biographical in his fiction. Fasih’s protagonist in Farār-e Foruhar, a professor of history and a practicing Muslim by the significantly hybrid (Shiʿa/Zorastrian) name of Jaʿfar Foruhar, mystically experiences his individual life as a life fully merged with the historical life of his nation. He is 55 years of age, born in the same year as Jalal Arian and Esma’il Fasih, but in his temporal annihilation in the history of his nation, he believes himself to have been born at the time when the 55 years old Zoroaster revealed his divine mission during the reign of king Goštāp (see GOŠTĀSP). His life parallels the glories and the pains of his nation’s destiny in what is aptly described by a critic as the “explosion of the life of an individual into the totality of his nation’s history.” (Badiʿ, p. 15) 

In “Ḥarekat,” an ironically mystical “annihilationist” short story, the protagonist rendered restless by his “Iranian heritage… coursing through [his] blood” (p. 112), drags himself over the skin of his homeland, including a stint near the ruins of the Temple of Ānāhitā (q.v.), his nation’s Goddess of water and of fertility, and ultimately returns to its womb, signified by collapsing into the square’s pond, when beaten to death by a crowd of his fellow countrymen.

Jalal Arian and all the emblems of good in Fasih’s fiction, Manṣur Farjām and Dr. Yār Nāṣer of Zemestān-e 62, Ṣādeq Arian of Del-kur, and Siāvaš of Dard-e Siāvaš, to name a few, and all the female characters who are murdered or driven to death by the likes of Ṣamad Ḵażāʾeri, the Arab antagonist of Šarāb-e ḵām, enact and reveal the predicament of their homeland, whose history manifests itself in the lives of its people, and describes the nature of the signification that binds all the worlds of Fasih together, his own, his characters and ultimately his nation.

Fasih’s short stories are gathered in five collections, published from 1972 to 1990, with some overlaps and repetitions. Although considered by some critics to be of lesser quality than his novels (Omidi Sorur), they do not in any significant sense form a body of work distinct from Fasih’s novels. Some of Fasih’s short stories in Ḵāk-e āšenā, and at least a couple of stories in ʿAqd o dāstānhā-ye digar, notably “harekat” (pp. 67-120), a long story bordering on a novella in the latter collection, easily match the best of this form in Persian literature.

All of Fasih’s fictions are informed by his double consciousness of the merciless events that shape his life, and the equally merciless logic of the history he is born into, each replicating the fundamental structure of the other at its own distinct level; a trajectory of fall and decadence.  They deal, with or without Jalal Arian, with a number of fundamental questions, chief among them the eternal struggle between good and evil, and a fascination, perhaps an obsession, with death (Yavari, 1999, p. 588). The curse of Jalal Arian’s life, as an Iranian and as a man, “who has had a shining past and is today a fallen and suffering man,” (Šarāb-e ḵām, p.173), appears as a recurrent motif in Fasih’s fictions, allegorized or otherwise. The story of Mirza Ḵodādād Zarrin-negār, the calligrapher and the main character in Panāh bar Hafez, is in many ways a projective iteration of Jalal Arian’s story. Ḵodādād, like Jalal Arian and Fasih, and so many of his avatars, falls in love with a Western woman (a Portuguese girl by the name of Angelico Bella, clearly a partial anagram of Annabel Campbell, Jalal Arian/Esma’il Fasih’s first wife) who dies during childbirth and leaves her calligrapher husband to seek solace and salvation in Hafez. 

Commentators have remarked unfailingly that names in Fasih’s fiction are selected for semiotic effect (e.g. Badiʿ, p. 16; Ferdowsi, ZEMESTĀN-E 62; Navvabpour, p. 429). The name Jalal Arian, that sits uneasily on the jaded character of the person who bears it, gives an ironic nod to the grandeur of ancient Iran. Siāvaš, the name of the murdered young idealist in the novel Dard-e Siāvaš, a novel that distantly echoes the story of a homonymous tragic hero in Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma, allegorically correlates with the wrongful death of Moṣaddeq’s nationalist movement in 1953 (Ojākiāns, p. 37; Mirʿābedini, 11, pp. 1018-19). Jāvid (lit. everlasting), the name of the Zoroastrian protagonist in Dāstān-e Jāvid, and the name of Edris, son of Maṭrud Āl-e Maṭrud (lit. refused from the clan of refused), the Iranian-Arab boy that Jalal Arian searches for in Zemestān-e 62, are clearly chosen for their semiotic suggestions. And so do the name of Nāṣer Tajaddod (lit. supporter of modernity), the aspiring writer in Šarāb-e ḵām, the name of the novel he is working on, “Az ḵākestrhā”, and Sarāb, the name of the isolated village he ends up being buried alive in. The name Nāṣer, has also a self-referential function in the novel reminding of Nāṣer as the name Fasih was called by in personal life. Many aspects of Fasih’s life, as well as his literary reflections and ambitions are also transposed onto Nāṣer Tajaddod, the writer inside the text. As noted by a critic, the name of Farroḵ Foruḡ, the girl who pursues Tajaddod in the novel, is probably motivated by Fasih’s close friendship with the noted Persian poet Foruḡ Farroḵzād (Kamāli Dehqān, 2007a, p. 9). In Talḵkām, the name of the kindly physician who attends to the ailing Iranian Zoroastrian Professor Firuzpur is Robert Malteno, the name of the well-known British progressive editor and publisher who brought out th e English translation of Fasih’s Sorayya in a Coma.

Fasih’s portrayal of women as often vulnerable and prone to victimization, suicide and murder, has led a commentator to argue that, “the only good women in Fasih’s stories are dead women” (Badiʿ 16; see also Sāsān Šāyesta, p. 278; for an opposing view see Azar Nafisi). It should be noted, however, that Fasih not only refrains from blaming women for their predicament, he rather portrays them as intelligent, professional, well read and brave. They are often fully sexual, without being blamed for it, a trait in part required by the novelistic device of keeping Jalal Arian single, and sexually available. In his relations with women, he is respectful, decent, sexual, and never condescending, even as he shows the good side of man as the guardianship of the always already fragile good.  If the women he comes to love have to die, it is because his love is a curse its spell he cannot break.

In Fasih’s fiction, the potential of dialogue as a narrative technique is fully displayed. He renders sentences as structured in spoken language, even if grammatically incorrect (Yarshater, pp. 480-81), and maintains the moral ambiguity of circumstances in deceptively simple sentences. His approach to fiction and its relations to biography and history mark a turning point in the path modern fiction has taken in Iran. In his eminently accessible novels, and in the humbleness of their narrative style, there is a great literary ambition at work:  the will to annihilate biography and history in the unity of literature in order to create a body of fiction that depicts the predicament of an ancient nation verifiably capable of great literature.

Translations. Fasih’s translations, all from English into a highly accessible Persian, are remarkable for their respectable commercial success, and their subject matter. They may be roughly divided into three major groups: psychological, literary, and political. The largest group, and by far the most commercially successful, are books on psychology, among which mention must be made of I’m OK, You’re OK (1969), an internationally popular book, by Thomas A. Harris (1910-1996), which Fasih translated as Vażʿiyat-e āḵer (1982, 24th print 2008). This and other psychological works translated by Fasih belong to an integrative approach in psychology known as “Transactional Analysis” (TA), developed by the Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne (1910-1970), whose popular work, Games People Play (1964), was translated into Persian by Fasih, under the title Bāzi-hā: ravānšenāsi-e ravābeṭ-e ensāni (1987, 11th print 2007). The nature of the relationship between Fasih’s interest in TA and practices of the novel has yet to be studied.

A second group of translations focus on literary texts and includes Shakespeare: zendegi, ḵolāṣa-ye āṯār: Hamlet (Tehran, 1997), a translation of Homer Andrew Watt’s (1884-1948) Outlines of Shakespeare’s Plays (1934), an act-by-act synopsis of all of Shakespeare’s plays; Rostan-nāma (Tehran, 1994), a translation of E. M. Wilmot-Buxton’s Book of Rustem: Retold from the Shah-Nameh of Firdausi (1907), which Fasih translates into Persian “to show that Iranzamin is the mother of human civilization, and the maker of the first global state,” (Rostam-nāma, p. iii); Ostādān-e dāstān: majmuʿa-i az dāstānhā-ye jahān  (1991), a translation of Great Short Stories: Fiction from the Masters of World Literature (1989); and Raymond Chandler’s (1888-1959) Little Sister (1949), as Ḵˇāhar kučika (Tehran, 1997). The relation between Fasih’s literary translations and his own creative work has yet to be studied systematically. Fasih himself emphasizes the influence of English, particularly American fiction on his own work (Fasih, 1987, p. 826; for a diverse and at times opposite surmises on such influences see Najaf Daryābandari in interview with Kamāli Dehqān; Rādmaneš; Amini Najafi; Omidi Sorur; Yazdani Khorram).

Although the list of Fasih’s translations regularly appears on the back of his books, the third group of his translations–two books by the well-known American Marxist historian Philip Sheldon Foner; A History of Cuba and its Relations with the United States (1972), and The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1895-1902 (1962-1963) which were translated and published bFasih, in 1982, and 1983, respectively, are never included in the list. This suppression is perhaps significant. Fasih’s work is deeply political, though not reducible to it. This political concern is so well integrated into his novels to make it an immanent aspect of his work. A politics of an anti-colonial bent, ultimately related to the formative experience of Fasih’s support for Mosaddeq’s nationalist movement, mixed with a certain kind of Arab-rejectionist sentiment (Kamāli Dehqān, “Goft-o-guʾi telefoni bā Esma’il Fasih”) runs through his novels, starting with his first (Šarāb-e Ḵām, 1968) all the way to his last published novel (Talḵ-kām, 2007).

Selected Publications:    


Asir-e zamān (Captive of time), Tehran e, 1994

Bāda-ye kohan (Ancient wine), Tehran, 1994

Bāzgašt be Darḵungāh (Return to Drakhungah), Tehran, 1998

Dar enteẓār (In waiting), Tehran, 2000

Dard-e Siāvaš (Siavash’s pain), Tehran, 1985

Dāstān-e jāvid (The story of Javid), Tehran, 1980

Del-kur (Blind in Heart), Tehran, 1972

ʿEšq o marg (Love’n death), Tehran, 2004

Farār-e Foruhar (Foruhar’s flight), Tehran, 1993

Gerdābi čonin ḥāʾel (So frightening a whirlpool), Tehran, 2002

Komedi-terāžedi-e Pārs (Pars’s comic-tragedy), Tehran: 1998

Košta-ye ʿešq (Killed by love), Tehran, 1997

Lāla bar-afruḵt (Tulip incandescent ), Tehran, 1998

Nāma-i be donyā (A letter to the world), Tehran, 2000

Panāh bar Ḥāfeẓ (Beseeching Hafez), Tehran, 1996

Šahbāz o joḡdān (Falcon and the owls), Tehran, 1990

Šarāb-e ḵām (Raw wine), Tehran, 1968

Talḵ-kām (Bitter end), Tehran, 2007

Ṭašt-e ḵun (Tray of blood), Tehran, 1997

Ṯorayyā dar eḡmā (Soraya in Coma), Tehran, 1984

Collections of Short stories

ʿAqd o dāstānhā-ye digar (Wedding and other stories), Tehran, 1978

Bargozida-ye dāstānhā (Selected short stories), Tehran, 1987

Didār dar Hend (Encounter in India), Tehran, 1974

Ḵāk-e āšenā (Familiar soil), Tehran, 1970

Nemadhā-ye dašt-e mošavvaš (Sign-posts of a turbulent desert), Tehran, 1990


Bāzihā: ravānšenāsi-e ravābeṭ-e ensāni, Tehran, 1987 (Eric Berne, Games People Play: the Psychology of Human Relations, 1964)

Jang-e Espāniā-Kubā-Āmrikā va peydāyeš-e amperiālism-e Āmrikā, Tehran: 1983 (Philip Sheldon Foner, The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1972)

Ḵˇāhar kučika, Tehran, 1997 (Raymond Chandler’s “The Little Sister” in Later Novels and Other Writings, Francis MacShane, ed., 1995)

Ḵodšenāsi be raveš-e Jung: teknik-e ramz-vāža, Tehran, 1993 (Michael Daniels, Self-discovery: the Jungian Way, 1991)

Māndan dar vażʿiyat-e āḵer, Tehran, 1988 (Amy Harris and Thomas Harris, Staying OK, 1985)

Ostādān-e dāstān, Tehran, 1991 (Great Short Stories: Fiction from the Masters of World Literature, 1989)

Rostam-nāma, Tehran, 1994 (Ethel Mary Wilmot-Buxton, The Book of Rustem Retold from the Shah Nameh of Firdausi, 1907)

Shakespeare: zendegi, ḵolāṣa-ye āṯārHamlet, Tehran, 1997  (Homer Andrew Watt, Outlines of Shakespeare’s Plays, 1934)

Taḥlil-e raftār-e motaqābel dar ravān-darmāni , Tehran, 1994 (Eric Berne, Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy: A Systematic Individual and Social Psychiatry, 1971)

Tāriḵ-e Kubā va ravābeṭ-e ān bā Āmrikā, Tehran, 1982 (Philip Sheldon Foner, A History of Cuba and Its Relations with the United States, 2 vols. 1962-1963)

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(Ali Ferdowsi)

Originally Published: January 28, 2011

Last Updated: January 28, 2011

Cite this entry:

Ali Ferdowsi, “FASIH, Esma’il,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available at (accessed on 28 January 2011).

  • Birthday: 21 Feb 1935
  • Death: 15 July 2009
  • Birthplace: Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Novelist and Translator

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