Our bodies, hanging in the dark forest by Ava Farmehri

Christina/ August 3, 2023/ Culture, Ideas of philosophy

Youth and death in Iran

is a poignant book that captivates from the very beginning. Sheyda’s profound opening statement, that she was born into captivity, adds a deeper meaning to the story, emphasizing her sense of unfreedom and the struggles that accompany her throughout her life.

The novel showcases Sheyda’s birthday on April 1, 1979, the same day the Islamic Republic of Iran was founded. The parallel between Sheyda’s birth and the birth of the young republic becomes a symbol of her feeling imprisoned within the political and social context of her homeland.

Ava Farmehri skillfully employs the metaphorical comparison of Sheyda’s birth to the founding of the republic, reflecting the oppressive atmosphere in Iran. This symbolism intensifies the notion that Sheyda’s life is shaped from the outset by circumstances beyond her control.

Sheyda’s narration from within the prison provides readers with a deep insight into her thoughts and her tormented soul. Her desire to die and her unwavering determination in making that decision convey a sense of desperation and isolation.

The depiction of the brutal prison conditions and the scarcity of visits from Sheyda’s family underscore the inhumanity and horrors of the Iranian penal system. Her decision to stay in prison despite her innocence highlights her psychological burden and her struggle with reality.

“Our bodies, hanging in the dark forest” is not an easy-to-digest book but a profound and thought-provoking narrative that takes readers on an emotional roller coaster. It is a work that unflinchingly and honestly explores the human psyche and the complexities of emotions that accompany life.

Sheyda’s journey prompts readers to contemplate the significance of freedom, self-determination, and empathy in a world often marked by political and societal constraints. The book lingers in the reader’s mind long after the final page.

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