A major literary event, the publication of "Touba and the Meaning of Night" introduces English-speaking readers to the epic masterpiece of a great contemporary Persian writer, renowned in her native Iran and in much of Western Europe. This remarkable novel, begun during one of the author's many imprisonments, was published in Iran in 1989 to great critical acclaim and instant best-seller status - but a year later Shahrnush Parsipur was again arrested, and all of her works were banned by the Islamic Republic. "Touba and the Meaning of Night" explores, from a distinctly Iranian viewpoint, the ongoing tensions between rationalism and mysticism, tradition and modernity, male dominance and female will. Throughout, it defies Western stereotypes of Iranian women and Western expectations of literary form, speaking in an idiom that reflects both the unique creative voice of its author and a new tradition in Persian women's writing.
Born in Iran in 1946, Shahrnush Parsipur began her career as a fiction writer and producer at Iranian National Television and Radio. She was imprisoned for nearly five years by the Islamist government without being formally charged. Shortly after her release, she published Women Without Men and was arrested and jailed again, this time for her frank and defiant portrayal of women's sexuality. While still banned in Iran, the novel became an underground bestseller there, and has been translated into many languages around the world. She is also the author of Touba and the Meaning of Night, among many other books, and now lives in exile in Northern California.