• As the Shadows Fall
  • Intro
  • Novel Synopsis
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As the Shadows Fall | Introduction

This novel is a work of fiction about two Persian families who live in Los Angeles, USA, far away from their homeland. On the surface, the story is about love, secrets, physical and mental suffering, and patriotism. However, throughout the book, from the narrative and the dialogue, the readers get a glimpse of Persian customs, literature, and arts. In a few chapters even Persian cuisine has been discussed in some details.

The individuals in this story are composite characters. Any resemblance to actual individuals is entirely incidental. However, many references are made to real historical figures (past and present), actual dates, and true events. Some locations, and dates have been altered to fit the plot of the story. Many Persian readers will find some chapters of their own lives within the pages of this book. For the other readers this book offers an opportunity to have a better understanding of expatriate Persians, who were betrayed by a false revolution and after decades, still yearn for their beloved homeland.

The events and the actions of the characters in this story illustrate that people are often subject to circumstances that are beyond their control. As the point of view changes, readers may have a different understanding and judgment about an individual's past conduct and choices.

As the Shadows Fall | Synopsis

The story begins in 2003, in Los Angeles, CA.

Bijan and Sepideh (both born in the US) are in their twenties and madly in love.

Bijan's father, Bahram, is Persian and a cardiologist. Bijan's mother, Josephine, a retired nurse, is originally from Ireland.

Sepideh's parents, Jalal and Mahin, are Persians and have immigrated to the US after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Jalal, a former military officer, owns a Middle Eastern carpet store in LA. He has a secret that he guards rigorously.

During a conversation at a coffee shop we get a glimpse of the two young lovers' backgrounds. As she is leaving the coffee shop, Sepideh is briefly followed by two strangers in a car.

At a party at the home of Sepideh's uncle and aunt (Reza and Shahnaz) we learn about her family's past, and Persian history (past and present), culinary, and customs. On the same night, Sepideh accidentally discovers that her father might be in some kind of trouble.

The next day Sepideh talks with her father and he tells her about his severe burns and the tragic loss of a very young son in a fire, while he and his family were fleeing Iran after the revolution. He has had numerous plastic surgeries and his face has completely changed.

In a nightmare sequence we learn about Bahram's college years, his political association with high-ranking members of dissident organizations, and his arrest and torture by agents of the Shah's secret police (SAVAK).

Bijan's family is invited to a Norooz (Persian New Year) party at the home of Sepideh's parents, where we learn much more about Persian traditions, literature, art, and history. Jalal and Bahram meet and like each other. Jalal is a collector of antique Persian books. He offers to show Bahram his collection a few days later.

Sepideh is offered membership in her uncle's family partnership. When she tells her parents, her father feels insulted and the relationship between them turns sour. She moves out of her parents' home and stays in a condo that belongs to her uncle.

Bijan proposes marriage to Sepideh. She tells him her secret: an abortion two years earlier. Strongly opposed to abortion, Bijan becomes extremely angry and severs ties with her.

Bahram meets Jalal to examine his antique books. When Jalal briefly leaves the room, Bahram finds a hidden wedding picture of Mahin and Jalal. Bahram immediately recognizes Jalal from the past (before his plastic surgeries) and discovers his secret. Bahram tells Bijan and he informs Sepideh of her fathers' unsavory past in Iran.

Sepideh confronts Jalal and learns of her father's past activities before leaving Iran. As a result of her severed relationship with Bijan and her father's shameful past, Sepideh is driven to the abyss of depression and the story takes a tragic turn.

In the right moment Reza and Shahnaz intervene and help Bahram and Jalal to put their past grievances behind. Once again the relationship between the two families become friendly and happy.


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