Bergman and I
October 22, 1998
I had the pleasure of having dinner with an Iranian artist in London last week. By all accounts, he's a living legend. I didn't have very much to say, preferring to listen and observe. When I spoke, I asked questions about other artists, mostly writers.
I was curious to hear his views on contemporary Iranian literature. I threw several big names at him. But he wasn't impressed. Then, as if to say there's some hope, he asked, "Have you read 'Hichkaak va aghaa baaji'?" Yes, I said, eyebrows raised.
Hichkaak va aghaa baaji va daastaan-haaye digar (Hitchcock, Aqgha Baji and Other Stories, Tehran, 1994) was one of several books I brought with me from Tehran during a summer visit in 1995. I had asked a publisher friend to recommend some books and one of them was Hichkaak, written by Behnam Diyani. An excerpt was featured a year ago.
At the London dinner, I mentioned that I had not read the whole book, but I thought it was interesting. "Read it. It's very good," said the artist.
So, as I looked for something to offer readers today, I went and picked up Hichkaak again. And this story, Bergman va man (Bergman and I) , immediately grabbed me. Here's an excerpt (in Persian):
* Another excerpt from Behnam Diyani's Hichkaak
va aghaa baaji va daastaan-haaye digar
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