THE UNDERGROUND BAZAAR
Best-seller since publication September 2009
Ron Leshem’s richly imagined novel, set in modern-day Teheran, is both provocative and entertaining. At times appalling, at times funny, this is a tale of love, friendship, and repression. Kami, a young man who abandons the port city of his youth for the bright lights of Teheran, falls in love with a beautiful, charismatic and adventurous young woman. Their love takes them to forbidden and dangerous places: to underground parties in the metropolis, to drugs, music and passion. In the strange building owned by his aunt, an actress whose star has dimmed, Kami befriends an elderly, tough, disgraced judge, along with a cat and a shy homosexual with a penchant for men in uniform. When Kami gets a computer, the horizons of the Internet beckon in different ways to each of the reclusive tenants, with the allure of freedom in stark contrast to the repressive theocracy in which they are caught. From the black market, where one can buy everything that is illicit, to the public squares where adulterous women are executed; between euphoria and paranoia, THE UNDERGROUND BAZAAR is a dramatic, almost palpable portrait of modern Iran.
France, Editions du Seuil; Germany, Rowohlt; Israel, Kinneret Zmora Bitan; Italy, l’Ancora del Mediterraneo
“A glimpse into an unfamiliar world, an engaging plot which brings to mind The Kite Runner…superb.” –Ynet
“The reading experience fulfils the political role of meaningful literature: to provide expressions through which the readers can experience the plot for themselves, to adopt unfamiliar – sometimes forbidden and dangerous – points of view, and to expand the boundaries of the imagination through them.” – Ha’aretz
“In this flowing, riveting, and wonderful book Leshem proves that he is one of the greatest literary voices to have emerged in Israel in recent years. Beautiful! Once again Leshem demonstrates that he knows how to tell a story of a faraway place, in this case the Islamic Republic of Iran, and still make the reader feel as though he was born, raised, and educated there.” – Makor Rishon