First Fiction Friday: Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang
October 6, 2017
Ava Farmehri's debut novel
Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang (Guernica Editions), set in Iran, tells the story of twenty-year-old Sheyda Porrouya who after being accused of killing her mother is sent to one of the country's most notorious prisons where she awaits her fate: release or execution.
A passionate and dedicated writer, Ava Farmehri presently lives in Canada. But she grew up in the Middle East surrounded by books, cats, and war. She loves books. She loves cats. She hates war. She really hates war. Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang is her first published novel.
Why you need to read this now:
Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang begins with twenty-year-old Sheyda Porrouya as she waits in jail to be hanged for the murder of her mother. Taking place in modern-day Iran, this novel is beautifully written. The story goes back and forth from flashbacks of Sheyda’s childhood to her current three-week incarceration in a notorious Iranian prison. As the story progresses, you realize that Sheyda’s account of events can be unreliable and the reader is forced to piece together what is fact and what is fiction. Is Sheyda truly mentally ill? Did she really kill her mother? Will Sheyda be released from prison? These questions kept us reading until the very end. While the reader tries to answer these questions through Sheyda’s clues, they are also given beautiful descriptions of gardens, homes, and birds, a recurring theme within the novel.
Sheyda is an extremely interesting character. Flashbacks of her childhood teach us about her unique relationship with her parents and events that may have led to her current situation. Although Sheyda keeps the reader at a distance, perhaps on purpose, you can’t help but feel sympathy for her and wonder what her fate will be.
Ava Farmehri’s prose is beautifully written without taking away from the story. The novel explores many areas: political unrest, mental illness, feminism, complex relationships, and social isolation. What will ultimately keep you reading is the beautiful prose and need for answers.
X plus Y:
Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang is similar to The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah for its unreliable narrator who may or may not have committed a crime and the beautiful writing and political unrest of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
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Thank you to Alex Dunn at Guernica Editions for sharing Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang with us. For more debut fiction,
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