Reviews for The Caspian Circle
“The Caspian circle is, in the very best sense, a large book. It has a rich store of characters, it covers important historical events and impressive sweeps of time, and its pages have a satisfyingly dense look, full of long, solid paragraphs. But what makes it stay with us, finally, is the stillness at its center: it’s narrator, wary and alert, condemned-by the very events he has described-to watch from a distance all the rest of his life.”
— Author Anne Tyler, Reviewed for The New York Times Book Review
“THE CASPIAN CIRCLE is the best and most promising first novel I have read for a number of years. I particularly liked the sobriety and obliqueness of Mr. Donné Raffat’s style, kept on hearing the ghost of E.M. Forster purring at my shoulder.”
— John Fowles
THE PRISON PAPERS OF BOZORG ALAVI “Totally gripping, excellently written, and in many places not a little harrowing…A political statement and document of major proportions …Overwhelming, whether as a picture of life in Iran during and after the Shah’s regime or as a contribution to the modern literary heritage of Iran.”
— Roger Allen, University of Pennsylvania
THE FOLLY OF SPEAKING “Few people write so clearly about the Iranian intellectual and occasionally ruling class as Donné Raffat. This is the real thing! Donné Raffat, a master of two worlds, helps the reader to a share of his mastery.”
— Richard Stern
“ One turns from any new novel by Donné Raffat with a sense both humbling and exhilarating that the world is larger than one knew. In The Folly of Speaking, he is both novelist and international tour guide, and never better in either role.”
— Jack Miles
“…remarkable first novel (The Caspian Circle)”
— John Leonard, The New York Times
Reviews for Chimeras
Chimeras is the eighth novel by Donné Raffat. Like its author, the world of the novel is urbane, polyglot, and multicultural, as it moves among countries and continents—from the Middle East, to Continental Europe, to England, to South and Central America. The novel displays an in-depth grasp of history, politics, and literature, with especially impressive knowledge of the fall of the Shah in the Iran Revolution, the fall of the Berlin wall, and conditions in South and Central America. Throughout, there is a deeper investigation of the “chimeras” or illusions of life: romantic illusions; illusions of representation in art, music, literature, and mythology; illusions of historical memory and personal experience—especially existential, day-by-day experience; and finally the illusions of self during amnesia and consciousness-enhancing drug states: “…all had been a chimera. I was a victim of my own folly, a victim of my chimera.” So much depth and so many facets are wrapped up in a compelling page-turner with short punchy chapters that propel the reader onward….
-Barry Charles Tharaud, editor and publisher of the international scholarly journal, Nineteenth-Century Prose. His most recent book is Çukurova: Yaşar Kemal Edebiyâtının Temelleri (İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2017), and he is currently completing a book project on Paul Bowles, the American ex-patriate writer who lived in Morocco for more than 50 years.