Once More, the Town that I Loved
ISBN: 9789645529343
First print: 1966
Last print: 26Rd 2014
Main language: Persian
Page count: 90
Publisher: Roozbahan Publications
Translation rights sold:

Danish: Korridor Small Press (2013)

Once More, the Town that I Loved

Once More, the Town that I Loved was first published in 1966 and was reprinted for the 24th time in 2013.  This is a book that has been loved by four generations of Iranian readers and the reprints are still selling extremely well.

It’s a complicated love story between a teenage boy and a teenage girl from two completely contrasting social backgrounds that ends in desolation.  The love story takes place in a dream-like atmosphere; its images are surreal, emerging from behind a thick mist; sometimes they can be seen and sometimes they hide from view.

The language of the novel is poetic and full of memorable sentences and metaphors; its central theme is what it means to love. In what was then a daring formal experiment, the story unfolds in three different time periods represented by three different fonts.

The name of the heroine is “Helia”, a name made up by Ebrahimi which since the book’s publication has become a very popular girl’s name.

“I fill my shabby pockets with peanuts and shout: Helia come and let’s go to the palace garden! 

The window opens.  You laugh.

-I haven’t had my afternoon snack yet.  Wait a bit!

You return carrying a big jam cake and throw it down.  I catch it in the air and you laugh again.  You appear in the window with a glass of tea and say something with your mouth full which I don’t understand.

- Where is your daddy?

- He has gone to check on the cotton.  We have loads of cotton this year.

- I know, Helia”.             

After being all alone for years the protagonist of the book returns to the town he loves only to find out that the beauty and serenity of the past are nowhere to be found. Years of which integrity, innocence and youthful tenderness were a hallmark are all gone. Civilization has transformed everything, and in some cases wreaked havoc on the town.

“I don’t know these squares; ceramics are gone. Tin roofs painted ochre are no longer as nice as they used to be. Tar and mockery outsmell sour orange blossoms; sparrows no longer like the end of the street.”               

Long Introduction