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The Blind Owl (1937) is Sadegh Hedayat’s most enduring work of prose and a major literary work of 20th century Iran. Written in Persian, it tells the story of a young man’s despair after losing a mysterious lover. As the narrator gradually drifts into madness, the reader becomes caught in the sandstorm of Hedayat’s bleak vision of the human condition.

The Blind Owl was originally published in a limited edition in Bombay, during Hedayat’s year-long stay there in 1937, stamped with “Not for sale or publication in Iran.” It first appeared in Tehran in 1941 (as a serial in the daily Iran), after Reza Shah’s abdication, and had an immediate and forceful effect. However it is believed that much of the novel had already been completed by 1930 while Hedayat was still a student in Paris.

✤ Also available in: Persian

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