'This haunting, magical novel spans centuries and continents, weaving together themes of migration, war, family, and the endurance of love against all odds. Captivating, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Forty Nights is a testament to the transformative power of story, and Pirooz Jafari is an extraordinary storyteller.' - Emily Bitto, author of The Strays and Wild Abandon
This story came to me and entered my soul. It did not need a key or an invite, for it already belonged. It walked in, shook my foundation and set my heart on fire. We danced around the flames and with every twirl, I grabbed a few words until I was burnt to ashes.
Tishtar runs a small legal practice in Melbourne where he has a new client, Habiba, who seeks to bring her orphan nieces to Australia from war-torn Somalia. He is also a migrant, having left the civil unrest in Iran to find a new life in a new country.
As Tishtar becomes consumed with Habiba's tales of war-torn Somalia, his own childhood memories return and he reflects on the time he spent at his grandmother's house to escape the atrocities that unravelled post the Islamic Revolution. While at his grandmother's house he comes to know Gretel, another lost soul who has experienced a community torn apart by division. Tishtar embarks on a journey in search of peace - for Habiba, for Gretel, for himself.
Spanning continents and centuries, Forty Nights is a tale of the ongoing effects of dispossession and dislocation - a struggle humankind has faced long into its past. Ultimately it is the story of finding home, wherever that might be.