Episode 58: Rooftops of Tehran, Mahbod Seraji

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Come along as Mahbod Seraji leads us on a familiar coming-of-age journey in a distant land threatened with revolution. At times, humorous, at others, heart-wrenching. Open your experience to the universal truths of Middle Eastern culture and see the world--your world--a little differently ~ You’re bound to recognize your brother, your parents, your friend in those once nameless faces and consider ROOFTOP's poignant message of love, courage, grief, and hope.

ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN Book Description from Mahbod’s Website:
This stunning literary debut paints a vivid portrait of growing up, discovering love, and awakening to the reality of life in a nation on the verge of revolution in the 1970s.  Rooftops of Tehran opens in a middle-class neighborhood in Iran’s sprawling capital city. The rooftop of the narrator’s house – the tallest in their alley - is the perfect spot for sleeping on hot summer nights. It’s also the perfect location for stargazing, sneaking cigarettes, talking about American movies, and confiding, analyzing and agonizing through the typical trials of being a seventeen year-old boy, including being in love. This is the spot from which the narrator quietly watches his secret love, his beautiful next door neighbor Zari, promised since birth to his friend and mentor, nicknamed Doctor, a man adored and respected by the whole neighborhood.  It is from this high perch that the narrator witnesses the SAVAK's brutal hunt and arrest of Doctor and realizes the oppressiveness of the regime under which he resides.  And the rooftop is where the narrator and Zari ultimately find quiet refuge in each other after the shock of Doctor’s senseless faith ripples through their close-knit community and brings about terrible, unexpected repercussions. With the candor only an Iranian can offer, Seraji's narrative bares the enduring struggle between beauty and brutality infused into the centuries-old Persian culture while reaffirming the human experiences we all share: contentment, terror, love, helplessness, ferocity, and hope.

"On the Plane with Annette Bening" Blog Excerpt (I'm glad I got to read the rest of it after speaking with Mahbod--don't miss the "Continue Reading" message at the bottom):
...Wow!  Annette Bening in Iran, I thought to myself.  I looked up and suddenly noticed a cheerful, beautiful, blond lady walking toward the snack bar, happy, carefree and relaxed, talking to the person who was walking along side of her, smiling, moving her arms—great energy for someone who like me must have woken up in the wee hours of the morning to make the damn flight!  Wow, the Academy Award wining Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard, one of the most underrated actors of all time!  Both their pictures were in the paper in front of me.  The ladies checked out the meager snack bar counter, and settled for a cup of coffee.  I have to admit, I felt a little giddy being in the same room with an Oscar winning actor, but I decided to rise above my giddiness and pretend like I hadn’t noticed her.  I buried my head back in the paper. For more, visit Words To Mouth.

  • Mahbod is reading CITY OF THIEVES, by David Benioff ~ Check out the “early days” Words To Mouth interview.

Visit Words To Mouth for links to ROOFTOPS website and other Words To Mouth interviews.

To Enter to Win a FREE Copy of ROOFTOPS:

  • Subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter (how winners announced)
  • Leave a Comment Below telling us what piqued your interest from the interview/blog post
  • Call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail message I can play on-air
  • U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
  • Deadline: June 30th, 2009 ~ midnight, EDT

~ "Thanks" to Natalie Brown for her song You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network ~

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