Kooshyar Karimi is a father, a doctor, a writer and translator. In 1998, he is kidnapped from the streets, blindfolded, and tortured by the Iranian Intelligence Service. When he is eventually released, it is only as a spy. This is his story.
Whilst many stories have come out of Iran in the last few decades, nothing matches the grittiness of this portrayal of life in the crumbling alleyways and damp cellars of an Iranian slum district – the extreme poverty and desperation, and the regular betrayals and compromises, even within families, in the fight for survival. Born on the back seat of a police car in the sub-zero temperatures of a bleak and icy winter’s night, Karimi summons extraordinary and unwavering dedication throughout his childhood to break free of this hopeless existence, culminating in the achievement of his dream to become a surgeon.
But the vocation that guarantees freedom from poverty will, for this profoundly compassionate man, inevitably lead to entrapment in a deadly struggle to stay alive in the world of betrayals, brutal tortures and executions by the ruthless Iranian Intelligence Service. The final chapter of this enthralling memoir describes Karimi’s nail-biting escape across the border into Turkey, only to be pursued by the nightmares for which he seeks a measure of atonement in the writing of this book.
The land in which I now live is as remote as I could wish from the Islamic Republic of Iran, but much too far from the Iran I love – the Iran free of ideologies, free of tyrants.
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