4. My Uncle Napoleon
Wall Street Journal / Firoozeh Dumas
30-Aug-2008 (4 comments)

It's difficult to exaggerate the popularity in Iran during the 1970s of "Dayee Jon Napoleon" -- both the novel and the TV comedy series based on it. Literally translated as "Dear Uncle Napoleon" but called "My Uncle Napoleon" in its English version, the story centers on three Tehran families in the 1940s living under the thumb of an egotistical patriarch who believes himself the incarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte. He is also extremely paranoid, believing, among other things, that the British are responsible for all of Iran's misfortunes. To this day, Iranians use the phrase "Uncle Napoleon" to describe a conspiracy theorist. The book and TV series were of course banned in Iran after the 1979 revolution -- ensuring their popularity with a new generation.

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Thank you

by Anonymous-z (not verified) on

Dai jaan is simply put, belly laugh funny!
I going to go for some of the others.
Thanks Firoozeh Jaan.


I love it so much that

by Anonypishi (not verified) on

I own the Persian book, then the English ones in hard cover and the soft cover. I have the video tapes and DVDs. And I can not remember the number of times that I have read the books and seen the show. I never get tired of it.

When I am dead I like to be buried with one of these items. The rest should be given to the next generation of my family to enjoy. I want you all to be my witnesses.



Thanks to an Iranian.com reader

by John on

I had never heard of this book until one of the contributors to Iranian.com made a reference to "Dear Uncle Napoleon" (given the nature of many of the items posted here it probably was in the form of an insult to someone or other).

By chance I googled it, which led me to the book on Amazon.ca, which sufficiently intrigued me that I ordered it.

Let me tell you that I have never laughed so much nor so hard in my life, certainly not while reading, and certainly not while sitting in the subway on my way to and from work.  Many times I found my fellow passengers giving me odd looks, which is when I realized that I had been laughing out loud.

I'm sure that all of you who are of Iranian descent have read this wonderful book, but let me recommend it to any "western" reader;  it is indeed a classic, full of outrageous behaviour, brilliant satire and humour, and unforgettable characters.

Darius Kadivar

Funny and Smart

by Darius Kadivar on

Truly a Classic at its Best.

Thanks for Sharing,