As It Happens

Israeli author wants to distribute Farsi translation of his work in Iran

He hopes smuggled-in copies of The Seven Good Years will give Iranians a chance to look past the political rhetoric of both countries.
(Ewa Szatybelko )

Israeli author Etgar Keret wants to cut through the political rhetoric that paints Iran and Israel as mortal enemies. So, in an unusual move, his new collection of personal essays, The Seven Good Years, has been translated into Farsi. 

Although it can't legally be sold in Iran, Keret hopes it will find its way there through smugglers and digital sharing.

Keret tells As It Happens host Carol Off, "I think literature is like a workout for our muscle of empathy. I don't think people who read my book will necessarily want to become friends of Israel, but they will have to acknowledge the fact that there are human beings living in it."

The Seven Good Years is a highly personal collection of essays stretching from the birth of Keret's son during a terrorist attack, to the death of his father.

"Through this book I tell a very universal and personal story," he says. 

Keret has chosen not to publish the book in Israel, because he's concerned about preserving the privacy of his son, who is featured in the book. That, and the fact that it is going to be available in Iran has led to criticism in his home country.

"Many people who attack me politically now say 'Okay, so you love the Iranians much more than you love your own people,' which is of course not the case."

You can hear a longer interview with Keret and Writers and Company host Eleanor Wachtel here.

The Seven Good Years is published in Canada by Penguin Random House and is available now. 

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