BĀDHĀ ḴABAR AZ TAḠYIR-e FAṢL MIDĀDAND (The winds presaged the changing of season, Tehran, 1967, Figure 1), a novel by the eminent fiction writer and literary critic, Jamal Mirsadeqi (Jamāl Mirṣādeqi; b. 1933)
Bādhā ḵabar az taḡyir-e faṣl midādand is set in the 1960s in Tehran and revolves around the turbulent life of Ḥamid, the novel’s narrator, and his cast of friends and neighbors of poverty-stricken families. It unfolds on a snowy day at a funeral, when Ḥamid is informed that his father has been seriously injured in a hit and run accident while crossing a street—an incident that changes Ḥamid’s life forever. He is forced to drop out of school in his senior year to take his father’s place at their butcher shop and run the family.
With the progression of the narrative, however, Ḥamid, encouraged by his friend, Nāṣer, a writer and also a dropout, decides to continue his studies at a night school, where he and his friends Raḥmat and Aṣḡar get drawn in the period’s politics of dissent. They join a group of politically active teachers and students who, typical of the period of history they represent, are bedazzled by left-leaning ideologies, advocate freedom of expression, and struggle to change the government ((Yāḥaqi, p. 276). Ḥamid is arrested at a street protest and imprisoned. Soon after his release, he realizes that the movement has changed direction and has been hijacked by opportunists.
The novel stays within the confines of social realism throughout and follows a linear narrative time, characteristics long identified in Mirsadeqi’s previous works. Noted for his ability to capture the mood and sensibilities of the deprived and the downtrodden (Yavari, p. 587), Mirsadeqi chooses the novel’s characters from the lower echelons of society and follows them from early adolescence to adulthood, and sympathetically highlights, their futile struggles with destitution and despair. Sparing the novel from melodramatic exaggerations and slogans, he bestows upon their mundane lives a sense of grim dignity (Yarshater, pp. 290-91). Mirsadeghi’s skillful depiction of Raʿnā, a nurse who turns to prostitution to help her opium-addicted husband, heightens the emotional texture of the novel and opens a window to yet another layer of social injustice and corruption. With the help of Ḥamid, she ultimately returns to her hometown, where she marries her cousin and opens a flower shop. As the story concludes Nāṣer and Ḥamid are about to finish their studies. The realization of their dreams, in line with the novel’s title, heralds the advent of a new season in the lives of the downtrodden strata of society.
Bādhā ḵabar az taḡyir-e faṣl midādand, in which colloquial expressions, folk jargon, proverbs, and curses, are smoothly blended in the standard written language, is written in plain prose and brief sentences. Mirsadeqi, as contended by a critic, employs the full potential of the vernacular language as a narrative technique and captures events and characters directly, unmediated by excessive descriptions (Yarshater, p. 289). The novel not only portrays the tragic life of the dispossessed and the hardships they experience in love, marriage, parental care, and in facing the abuses of an autocratic regime (Sepānlu, p. 315), but also sheds light on a bygone period in the history of a city as it painfully discards traditional customs and lifestyles. Not all critics, however, are in accord with the appearance of the theme as a recurrent motif in Mirsadeqi’s stories, a quality that, as they argue, leaves little room for the depiction of the potentially beautiful or humane aspects of life in urban areas and in the lives of the characters that inhabit his novels (Mirābedini, pp. 819-20).
Ḥasan Mirʿābedini, Ṣad sāl dāstān nevisi dar Irān, 3 vols., 2nd ed., Tehran, 2001.
Moḥammad Šarifi, Farhang-e adabiyāt-e Fārsi, 2nd ed., Tehran, 2008.
Moḥammad ʿAli Sepānlu, Bāzāfarini-e vāqeʿiyat, Tehran, 1381.
Moḥammad Jaʿfar Yāḥaqqi, Juybār-e laḥẓa-hā (The rivulet of moment), 10th ed., Tehran, 1387.
Ehsan Yarshater, “Yād-dāšt 2/7: Taḡyir-e faṣl,” Iran Nameh, 5/2, winter 1987, pp. 287-92.
Houra Yavari, “ Fiction ii (b). The Novel,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica IX, 1999, pp. 580-92.
Last Updated: October 1, 2012