TEHRAN – In his latest adult novel “Jack London Train”, writer Farhad Hassanzadeh, best known for his children’s books, has focused on the repercussions of the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s in his hometown Abadan in southwestern Iran.
The novel was completed about 20 years ago when the writer was forty, he said after the Tehran-based publisher Ofoq released the novel in mid-March in its “Today’s Literature” series.
“Now that I have reached sixty, the publisher sent me a copy of the novel with a bunch of flowers and a box of confections,” he asserted.
The novel shows how the life of a family in Abadan is completely transformed after the war breaks out in the town.
It aims to shed light on the dark corners of the lives of people in southwest Iran who experienced the war.
“After I received the book and took a look at it, I read a few pages,” Hassanzadeh said.
“I had a special feeling; the world I’d created in my mind, all fifty characters and scenes in the story, all their internal and external conflicts, all drafts, the whole history and geography of the story, the characters’ psychology and many other things have been brought in a book comprised of only 400 pages,” he explained.“I thought for a while that the book was too short to express the stories of its characters, only some of which unfold in this novel,” noted Hassandzadeh, who has received nominations for several international literary awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA).
Hassandzadeh said that he wanted to write “Jack London Train” in several volumes, but the conditions evolved in such a way that made it impossible.
“Sometimes, silence and sometimes, white pages are more expressive,” he noted.
Hassandzadeh has previously said that his dramatic view in “Jack London Train” was under the influence of the distinguished Persian novelist Ahmad Mahmud.
He is currently a nominee of Iran’s Association of Writers for Children and Youth for the 2023 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA).
The association said, “With a professional career spanning nearly four decades, Farhad Hassanzadeh has produced amazing stories for children and young adults; stories which have been acclaimed by readers and received Iranian and foreign prizes.”
He has been selected for his concern for the environment, issues on women and girls in the modern world, and human values such as peace, friendship and children’s rights as well as his different view of wars.
His children’s books have been translated into several languages, including English, Turkish and Russian.