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The Drum Tower



Original Language: English | 308 pp. | October 2014

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic rights.

Rights Sold: USA (Black Heron Press).


A beautifully written and poignant tale of a teenage girl whose privileged life it turned upside down when she starts to discover her family secrets and when the political turmoil around her leads her to flee war-torn Tehran. It takes place in 1979 Iran and concerns the destruction and hopes of an Iranian family and the whole country during the revolution. Moving and insightful, the novel is a testament to the absurdities of war and the tenacity of those who survive it.

It will appeal to readers of Khaled Hosseini, Sahar Delijani’s Children of the Jacaranda Tree and Kader Abdolah’s The House of the Mosque.

TALKHOON is a 16 years old girl who is emotionally abused by her aristocratic grandmother, heiress of a line of War Ministers and the matriarch of the Drum-Tower, a historical mansion with a majestic tower in the garden. She is obsessed with the vague memory of her dead mother and roams the many rooms of the old house to find a trace of her. TAARA, her beautiful older sister is loved by her grandmother, writes poetry and plays the seta -masterfully. The girls’ grandfather, a scholar of classics, has spent all of his life to write a book about the Simorgh (Phoenix, the Bird of Knowledge in Persian mythology), but now he has gone out of his mind and the legendary bird has become real for him. A few incidents lead to Talkhoon’s desperate attempt to escape the house: her father, a wonderer and a communist who is always absent, visits the family and disappears again, her much-loved young uncle VAFA joins an Islamic revolutionary group and leaves the house, BABA (grandfather) falls into coma after a massive stroke, and Taara, elopes with her boyfriend, a drug-addicted poet. Abandoned by all her loved ones, Talkhoon escapes the Drum-Tower in fear of Uncle ASSAD, the illegitimate son of the Professor who is really the servant of the house.
The family falls apart. The revolution is at its peak. Assad the servant has joined the revolutionary guards. He discovers that he is actually the illegitimate son of Grandpa VAZIR and the alleged heir to the family wealth; he finds the run-away Talkhoon, imprisons her in the basement and confesses that he loves her and wants to marry her. Talkhoon tricks him and escapes.
She manages to find her sister Taara and they both decide to cross the border of the country. Taara, now separated from her boyfriend, is nine months pregnant, disoriented and at times delusional. She is waiting for the Simorgh from their childhood tales to appear and save them all. Talkhoon has to take charge and save both of them. Disguised as a boy, she takes her sister to the border with Afghanistan and makes a deal with the drug-smugglers, who are now smuggling people. They cross the border on a mine-field, Taara and her new-born baby are successful, but Talkhoon is taken by the guards and reunited with Assad who hastily arranges their marriage. During the ceremony an enormous object appears in the sky and there is an explosion (Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in 1980). Professor Angha, who has waken from coma comes out, looks at the sky and claims that the legendary Simorgh has finally appeared.
Talkhoon is the only survivor of the family, the one who lives to tell the story of their loss and longing, struggle and determination, war and politics, but also triumph and hope.

Farnoosh Moshiri’s Awards and Grants

Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Fiction Award (for The Drum Tower)—2013
Florida Review Editors’ Prize for Creative Nonfiction—2008
Valiente Award: for artists who have taken risks to speak out on social justice issues—2006
Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers (for Against Gravity)—Spring 2006
Borders Books January Original Voices selection (for Against Gravity)—2006
Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction (for The Crazy Dervish and the Pomegranate Tree)—2004
Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction (for The Bathhouse)—2001
Barnes and Noble Bookstores of Houston Author of the Month (for At the Wall of the Almighty)—2000
Barthelme Fellowship Award in Nonfiction—1996
Farnoosh Moshiri has won three regional awards: two from the North Harris Montgomery College
District (2002, 2003), and one from the University of Houston, Clear Lake (1996). She also was awarded a C. Glenn Cambor/Inprint fellowship in 1992.