Soudabeh Alishahi: Smile. Gyldendal, 2015
I was recently in the movies watching the naturalistic mafia movie Black souls. Shortly after, I started Soudabeh Alishahi's novel Smile, it struck me that the Iranian culture she describes has a lot in common with the mafia culture. The code word is, of course, honor, and a religion that is systematically exploited to justify both a patriarchal social order and various crimes. In a culture of honor, there is always a lot at stake, and the individual's freedom must be limited by force and intimidating means. This provides fertile ground for drama in narrative forms, and I am definitely one who can be moved. . .
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