The Blind Owl
This is an extremely important work of Iranian fiction, written in the 1930s. It was banned in Iran because it had been known to make its readers suicidal. The author unfortunately committed suicide at age 48 by gassing himself to death in Paris, France.
The book tells two versions of the same story – both told from the main character’s perspective. He is an artist who is either solitary or lives with his wife (depending on the telling). One version is a bit more supernatural-feeling than the other; both heavily feature sadness, loneliness, and darkness.
The young man is a painter of miniatures, whose name is never given. He feels an overbearing need to recount an experience he went through that has shattered his whole existence. A beautiful woman, an old man and a cypress tree are the recurring motifs.
My 9 star rating is not because I enjoyed the book but because of the experience evoked while reading this book. It is filled with metaphor, symbolism and very beautiful prose and a fantastic landscape of trees and hills of geometrical shapes: cylinders, perfect cones, truncated cones. The author wanted the book to be the experience and not a book about an experience. It is just that - a book that takes you to the narrator's decomposed soul and the darkness of his heart.
I would recommend this book for you.