To Keep the Sun Alive by Rabeah Ghaffari
English | 2019 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 1.2 Mb
To Keep : “”How do we recognize the moment our future has been written for us? In To Keep the Sun Alive, as the Islamic Revolution looms just outside the gate of an Iranian family orchard, Rabeah Ghaffari has built a world so lush, so precise that you will find yourself rewriting history if only to imagine it could still exist.”—Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing”
The year is 1979. The Iranian Revolution is just around the corner. In the northeastern city of Naishapur, a retired judge and his wife, BibiKhanoom, continue to run their ancient family orchard, growing apples, plums, peaches, and sour cherries. The days here are marked by long, elaborate lunches on the terrace where the judge and his wife mediate disputes between aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews that foreshadow the looming national crisis to come. Will the monarchy survive the revolutionary tide gathering across the country? Will the judge’s brother, a powerful cleric, take political control of the town or remain only a religious leader?
“Mirza brought a crate filled with vegetables into the kitchen from the winter storage bin in the west end of the house along with some meat from the freezer box and frozen eggplant slices that had already been fried. Bibi-Khanoom took the tray of eggplant. She chopped onions and fried them in a pot while Mirza washed the meat under lukewarm water, cut it into small cubes, and added them to the pot. Bibi-Khanoom then added the eggplant. They continued their preparation for lunch in silence, moving around each other with the ease and coordination that comes with years of repetition.
Once the dish was done, Bibi-Khanoom evaluated the task ahead. Two pots with different stews simmered on the stove, a large bowl of uncooked rice soaked in water and salt, fresh tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers lay on a chopping block ready to be made into salad, and bunches of tarragon, basil, mint, and cilantro lay drying in a sieve. She wiped her wet hands on a dishrag and turned to Mirza.
“We’ll need to have the fruit pickers start work sooner. It’s an early spring.”
“Yes, I will arrange it.”
“I think I will do sour cherry jam and pear compote. The rest can go to market.”
“And the grapes?”
Bibi-Khanoom knew exactly why he inquired about the fate of the grapes. They had the same delicate conversation every year.
“Will you be needing a crate or two for your medicinal juice?”
“Yes. It’s very helpful with sleeping problems.”
“Of course. For sleeping problems.” Bibi-Khanoom shook her head in mock disappointment. Mirza tried to suppress a smile.
Bibi-Khanoom was a devout Muslim whose lips had never touched alcohol, but she never minded when others did. She peeked into the vestibule. “Where is Jafar?”
“With the chickens.”