Two Steps this Side of the Line
Author: Ahmad Pouri
ISBN: 9789643624101
First print: 2008
Last print: 2010
Main language: Persian
Page count: 226
Publisher: Cheshmeh Publications
Translation rights sold:
Two Steps this Side of the Line

Two Steps this Side of the Line is a novelette in seven chapters. The story, set in Tehran, London, Baku and Leningrad, centers on Ahmad, an academic who is translating the poems of Anna Akhmatova. One day in a bookstore he runs across a strange man who claims to be a close friend of the noted Russian poet. The man tells Ahmad that he can arrange a meeting between him and Anna, but that first he needs to fly to London to collect a love letter Isaiah Berlin has written and take it to Anna in Russia. To the surprise of Ahmad’s wife and friends, he’s dragged into the bizarre story.

Two Steps this Side of the Line is a novel with a diverse audience base. It’s particularly liked by those who are in love with literature and poetry. It’s a thought-provoking story in which love and betrayal, history and philosophy, poetry and politics intertwine. It’s a narrative with different layers of meaning, a love story involving Anna and Isaiah, the parallel story of a passion-free, married life Ahmad is leading, and the story of his attitude, his encounters, and his inner recollections. History, philosophy and psychoanalysis along with the romantic aspects of Anna’s poems and the love of her life masterfully intertwine with each other in this book.

Although delicate details have been worked into Two Steps this Side of the Line, it mirrors the strong impact the poems of Akhmatova and the story of her life have left on the author. Ahmad Pouri, 60, an Iranian writer and translator, is widely known for his good translation of poems by Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, and Anna Akhmatova. The well-placed details of this book, a perfect portrayal of the story of Akhmatova’s life, dispel monotony and make the narrative more plausible and believable.

Long Introduction