Candle & Fog, a publishing house in Tehran and London, is now bringing to the attention of the outside world a selection of bestselling novels and stories that hitherto has only been available in Persian a literary selection that opens a whole new hidden world to readers in English. These works provide us with a unique insight into the history that has shaped the extraordinary country of present day Iran. They also open a window into a culture which, to many in the Western world, has remained a mystery. The narratives cover a wide range of topics, from contemporary domestic issues to the role of women in a patriarchal society, from the bloody conflicts that darkened historic Persia’s landscape to a medieval mystic’s quest for enlightenment. The poetic nature of the Persian language is well-suited to literature; its compelling rhythms lend a haunting quality to the stories that lingers after finishing them. For readers unfamiliar with Iran, the perspective that these books bring to its cultural life, both past and present, should help to develop a sympathetic understanding, and a greater tolerance, of the differences that sometimes divide us.

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