The Neighbors

[ Middle Eastern Studies ]

The Neighbors

By Ahmad Mahmoud

Translated by Nastaran Kherad

This coming-of-age story set in southwestern Iran during the nationalization of the oil industry in 1951 is the first English translation of the work of a prominent Iranian novelist who helped set the stage for today’s struggle for democracy in Iran.

June 2013


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5.5 x 8.5 | 410 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-74905-4

Ahmad Mahmoud sets The Neighbors against the backdrop of the oil nationalization crisis that gripped Iran in the early 1950s. His protagonist, Khaled, a young man from a rundown neighborhood in Ahvaz, a city in southern Iran, becomes involved in the struggle to wrest Iran’s oil industry from the British and, as the result of his political activities, comes to realize that there is more to life than the drudgery and poverty his parents and neighbors have experienced.

The Neighbors, published in 1974, cemented Mahmoud’s reputation as a novelist and captured the ethos of a generation—the generation that laid the groundwork for those who continue to struggle for democracy in Iran today. Though the novel received considerable praise and was read widely, its political nature earned the ire of Mohammad Reza Shah’s regime, and the Islamic Republic has objected to its sexually explicit content. This is the first time one of Ahmad Mahmoud’s novels has appeared in English translation.

Ahmad Mahmoud was born in Ahvaz in 1931 and, like his protagonist, spent time in prison for political agitation in the 1950s. He wrote several short story collections and novels before his death in 2002.

Nastaran Kherad, born in Abadan, a city in southern Iran, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


Editor on Understanding the Middle East through Translated Literature

Wendy Moore, publications editor for UT Austin’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, discusses the art and value of translating works of literature.
Series: The University of Texas Press Podcasts

Author: | Date: Monday, 03 August 2015 | Duration: 23:09

Our conversation with Wendy explores the difficulties, rewards, and impact of translation. She discusses what’s next for the CMES Modern Middle East Literatures in Translation series and how important it is to find cultural commonalities through translated literature.

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