The Place of Stones is Ali Hosseini’s newly translated first novel, his second book to appear in English. In it, he paints a vivid portrait of Sangriz, a village in the southern part of Iran where life has been disrupted by industrialization and the revolution of 1979.
Haydar and Jamal are best friends, and their families have always made their living from the land in the foothills of Iran’s Zagros Mountains. Haydar is a dreamer who searches the hills for an ancient treasure called the Black Globe. Jamal is in love with Haydar’s sister, Golandam, and he attempts to accommodate himself to modernization as a way to create a better life for the two of them. The rapacious conversion of farmland to brick factories draws the trio into escalating conflict with the village landlord.
As Jamal, Haydar, and their families confront land reform, industrialization, revolution, and war, their lives are pulled forcefully toward the explosive events that will change them all. In masterfully crafted prose that never sinks into sentimentality, The Place of Stones illuminates how a lost past continues to shape the present.
About the Author
ALI HOSSEINI is the author of the novel The Lemon Grove (Curbstone/Northwestern, 2012). The Place of Stones (Sangriz) and two short-story collections were published in Iran, and his short fiction has appeared in Persian in the United States in PAR Monthly and Persian Book Review. His work in English has been published in Epoch, StoryQuarterly, Guernica, Tweed's, Fiction International, American Letters & Commentary, and elsewhere. He lives in the Boston area.
"Hosseini... offers a powerful look at how outside forces shape rural life. The novel provides a rich sense of time and place, and a recently vanished lifestyle." —Publishers Weekly
"Hosseini's storytelling magically weaves together the lives of his characters pre- and post-revolution, leaving readers in no doubt that something is lost when the march toward modernization benefits a privileged few at the expense of the masses." —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
“In evocative and rich language, we are informed about the customs of village life: weddings, mourning, burials, and religious ritual—some of which are now only a memory—and the caring and callousness of people. Hosseini ushers us into the internal worlds of these young men and women of the village and reminds us of the terrible challenges, choices, and suffering many of them experienced in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. The Place of Stones will be outstanding reading for anyone who hopes to enter the worlds of non-elite, non-urban Iranians.” —Mary Elaine Hegland, author of Days of Revolution: Political Unrest in an Iranian Village
"In this striking and mournful novel, there is a strong sense of deep-rooted family histories and traditions being scattered to the wind as the characters experience little reprieve in the face of forces beyond their control." —Chicago Review of Books
"This is a careful portrait of a land and a people ravaged by war. Hosseini provides a voice for those people who never make the news reports or the history books—the common people for whom the land is sacred. This is a story of the Middle East that we don’t get from the headlines, but it is also a novel with a significant story to tell." —Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and Late One Night
"Ali Hosseini has done western audiences a huge service by offering an Iranian perspective to age-old conundrums such as industrialization, war, and religion... Hosseini’s prose is light but impactful, painting pictures in a deft style and allowing readers to perceive places that are not in front of them." —New York Journal of Books