De Koning Author Kader Abdolah am Books Kader Abdolah is the penname of Hossein Sadjad
De Koning Author Kader Abdolah am Books Kader Abdolah is the penname of Hossein Sadjadi Ghaemmaghami Farahani, an Iranian writer who also writes in Dutch Abdolah has lived in the Netherlands since 1988.He studied physics at the Arak College of Science and fled the country as a political refugee in 1988 Today he lives in Delft The Netherlands , writing under a pseudonym made up of the names of two murdered friends Het huis van de moskee The House of the Mosque , catapulted Abdolah into the Dutch bestseller lists.. Aan het einde van de negentiende eeuw bestijgt een nieuwe sjah de Perzische troon Hij volgt zijn vader op, maar hij mist de daadkracht en de ambitie om zijn stempel op het bestuur te drukken De koning heeft meer oog voor zijn harem, de kersentuin, de jacht en zijn rijkdommen dan voor de situatie waarin het volk en het land verkeren Het leiderschap in het economische macAan het einde van de negentiende eeuw bestijgt een nieuwe sjah de Perzische troon Hij volgt zijn vader op, maar hij mist de daadkracht en de ambitie om zijn stempel op het bestuur te drukken De koning heeft meer oog voor zijn harem, de kersentuin, de jacht en zijn rijkdommen dan voor de situatie waarin het volk en het land verkeren Het leiderschap in het economische machtsspel waarin Perzi met Engeland, Frankrijk en Rusland is verwikkeld, laat hij over aan zijn raadgever, de vizier.De handige politicus ziet in de samenwerking met de westerse landen grote mogelijkheden om hervormingen door te voeren die voorspoed zullen brengen Maar tegen welke prijs In een prachtig historisch en tegelijkertijd actueel verhaal vol betoverende personages verweeft Kader Abdolah de harde strijd om bodemschatten, land en macht met de magische sfeer van het aloude Perzi.. Good Book De Koning First off, let me start by saying that I have a clear weakness for Kader Abdolah’s style of writing and its tone; I consider it to be the style of a true storyteller, and not one I come across very often. There is always such a humbly objective tone to it, and it derives strength from its simplicity. Whereas others might not find it original enough, or wish he gave more flair to his prose – I understand your arguments, because his style is indeed not very complex nor is it fantastically elegant. Yet that is what I love so much about it – it’s completely devoid of frivolities. Something about it just oozes: “This is simply how it happened”, and one takes it as a given.But, I digress.De Koning is Abdolahs newest historical novel, and details the history of Persia, its shah (Naser al-Din Shah Qajar), and its inhabitants at the end of the nineteenth century. Modernisation is at hand while Russia, France, and the United Kingdom all inch closer to get themselves a piece of Persia’s strategically positioned, oil-rich pie. Meanwhile, the current shah tries to turn a blind eye, more interested in his women, riches, and entertainment; torn between his mother’s traditionalist approach and his prime minister’s wish for modernisation. However, he can’t ignore what’s happening around him forever – revolutions in technology and especially communication all around the globe allow even his loyal citizens to learn of other practices in other countries… and to eventually rebel against him.Starting at page one, you can already slowly feel the shah’s kingdom crumbling down around him. There’s always this sense of a threat looming somewhere in the background, even though the shah himself doesn’t quite feel it yet at the start of the story. However, there’s simply no way out for him: every decision he makes is off and offensive in some way, and he finds that he can’t really please anyone – not his traditionalist mother, who concocts plans with the Russians, or his more modern prime minister, who dreams of a democratic Persia filled with modern cities, factories, and railroads. Though the shah is far from a very likeable character, you feel for him, especially in the beginning. I could understand his position and his behaviour, formed by his sheltered upbringing and his sociocultural climate – he’s simply not fit to be king, but there’s no way around it. And naïve as he is, he tries to be a vigorous and ruthless one, like his father was, but somewhere in his heart, he knows he’ll never be. So when consequences of bad decisions start hitting him harder, he starts to choose to ignore them and focus on the finer pleasures of life instead.Of course, he grows worse and worse while the story progresses. Constantly finding himself in situations in which he sees no way out, he starts resorting to ugly methods to get what he wants or to get things out of his way. He ignores every voice around him begging him to listen to reason, and when his prime minister takes it too far, a sad fate awaits him.As expected, this is a very political book, and immensely interesting if one’s interested in the history of Persia and how modernisation came about. It provides the reader with a thorough perspective of how everything went down, and gives honest and believable depth to every relationship in the story, from politically founded ones to more personal ones. To see the shah and his prime minister grow from trusting and frank towards each other to dismissive and disrespectful is heart-breaking in some ways, even though you can see it coming.I was impressed with this book for its scope on Persia’s nineteenth century history, providing its readers with perspectives of the shah, his prime minister, his wives, his mother, his enemies, and his people and the rebel ringleaders among them. Abdolah’s observations are beautifully objective and intelligent. It feels complete, it feels honest, and it feels tragic. It reads fast, thanks to its short chaptered format, and the slight threat in the background makes one keep on reading.Recommended for fans of historical fiction, those interested in Persia’s history/role in nineteenth century modernisation, and people who simply cannot turn away an eastern fairy-tale written by a master storyteller.