Then the Fish Swallowed Him by Amir Ahmadi Arian


The title alludes to the story of Jonah and the Whale. An apolitical bus driver finds himself swept up into a political prison and a new reality. A high stakes psychological cat-and-mouse game begins with his interrogator which unravels the man’s life and sanity leaving him with the choice of seemingly futile resistance or submitting the the lie of state power. At once very specific to time and place, it is also a timeless, resonant allegory of despotism.

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Our Bookseller says:

“Yunus Turabi’s time in Evin Prison and subsequent trial plays like a tragedy in five acts: a battle against despotism that becomes increasingly feeble and desperate. Meanwhile, Yunus’ detached, unsympathetic, and discomfiting character is reminiscent of Meursault from The Stranger as he narrates his own absurd and tragic spiral. As we learn more about his life before imprisonment, the novel’s definition of solitude and loneliness evolves. What’s left? Only the indelible marks that Yunus’ torture leaves on his psyche. Arian masterfully pieces together a story that’s very grounded in early-2000s Iran, yet harshly exposes universal tactics of totalitarianism and the minds of the perpetrators.” – Julia

Yunus Turabi, a bus driver in Tehran, leads an almost invisible life. A solitary man since the unexpected deaths of his father and mother years ago, he is decidedly apolitical—even during the transportation union’s strike and its bloody end. But everyone has their breaking point, and Yunus has reached his.

Handcuffed and blindfolded, Yunus arrives at Evin, the infamous political prison. Inside this stark ordered world, he meets Hajj Saeed, his personal interrogator. Hajj Saeed and Yunus develop a disturbing yet interdependent relationship, where both men play their roles in a high-stakes psychological cat-and-mouse game. Hajj Saeed controls Yunus’ life with unflinching purpose, sending him on a mind-bending cycle of solitary confinement and interrogation. Through these startlingly intimate moments, Yunus’s life begins to take shape—from his childhood memories growing up in a freer Iran to his heartbreaking betrayal of his only friend. As Yunus struggles to stay a step ahead of Hajj Saeed’s increasingly undeniable accusations, he must decide to keep on fighting or submit to the system of lies that upholds Iran’s power.


Then the Fish Swallowed Him by Amir Ahmadi Arian
Epilogue BCB