‘Things We Left Unsaid’ by Zoya Pirzad

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Things We Left Unsaid is the debut novel of Zoya Pirzad, a renowned Iranian-Armenian novelist. Its original name is ‘Cherag-ha ra man k hamush mikonam’ (I Will Turn Off The Lights) which is translated into English under the name of Things We Left Unsaid by Franklin Lewis.

It is a first narrative story, narrated by Clarice, the leading character of the story. She was quiet content in her life with her engineer- husband Artoush, her teenage son Armen and her twin daughters- Armineh and Arshineh, although she disliked the political likeness of her husband and always had to solve problems between the siblings. She also had to deal with her mother and her unmarried sister who is desperate for a man, as they come as uninvited guests.

She had nothing remarkable to do in her life like any ordinary housewife in a small town called Abadan in the early 1960s. But things changed when an eccentric family comes to occupy the house across the street as their neighbors. The life of Clarice turns upside – down after an eventful night at Simonians’ house. She soon finds herself melting soft towards Mrs. Simonian, a short old lady, strange in her ways and gets attracted towards Emile, a dreamer with blue eyes, who finds every possible way to interfere in her life.

In the story, Clarice acts as a binding factor between all the characters. She is the one who is running behind settling everything up , maintaining relations and keeping things comfortable for others , forgetting her dreams, desires, likes, dislikes; more importantly, forgetting to live her life in her own way. She begins to question herself and her feelings. Everyone is dependent on her but she becomes unable to decide how best to deal with each one of them. In the end, Clarice finds herself come alive to possibilities previously unimaginable.

Set in Iran, prior to Islamic Revolution, it probes deeper into the insights of middle – class, stay – at – home woman. It is a simple and light – hearted story which should be read without much expectation. It is indeed a morale boosting story as we can feel and get inspired reading how a woman discovers her inner self which was not known to her before.

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Sreya R. Menon

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