Author Suraya Sadeed was stuck in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, while trying to cross the Afghan border. To keep herself amused, she visited a tiny bookstore in hopes of finding some Dari titles. She found Tajer Venicei (The Merchant of Venice) and a philosophical Sufi book. Here’s an excerpt from her visit:
Without asking, the shopkeeper brought over another stack of Dari volumes. I smiled my thanks, and he returned the gesture, revealing a mouth of flashing gold. He was an ancient-looking Tajik, wearing a cap of black velvet embroidered with trees and flowers in all the colors of the rainbow. Beneath the hat were these enormous bushy eyebrows, and the jolliest, chubbiest face that I had ever seen….
She sits down with the bookseller and talks about her Iranian family, living in the U.S., and the ancient poet, Rudaki:
He invited me to sit while he served me green tea and candy. I asked if he had any works by Rudaki, the famous Persian poet who composed verses one thousand years ago.
He fixed me with a look. “You know Rudaki?”
Instead of answering, i quoted some lines at him in Dari:
There is the great scent of a water garden called Mulian,
The fresh smell of those streams and that garden come to me
Reminding me of my kind and beloved lover.
The bookseller was in rapture. “Say it again, will you?”
I repeated the lines.
He glanced at me, and there was a real sadness in his eyes. “Do you know how painful it is that I cannot talk to my sons and daughters in Persian? My generation was the end of it. With the coming of the Soviets it all came to an end. Our lives were turned upside down. We lost our language. Our literature. Our identity even.”
Berkeleyside reports on the shifting comic book scene in Berkeley as of late. There’s a new, airy, store in the ‘hood. And we approve. After you swing by Fantastic Comics, on Shattuck stop over at Shakespeare & Company at Dwight and Telegraph.
We’ve been very busy at Shakespeare & Company, since our new manager Stephanie Vela has begun sprucing up the place.
Vela is going through the literature section, book by book, lowering prices, pulling out older books, and putting them on our new stock-full sale table. Come around to check out our discounted titles, and eye-pleasing literature collection.