By: Siamak Vakili
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Reviewed by Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 19, 2022
Siamak Vakili delivers his take on the topic of ‘motherhood’ in his debut novel titled Motherhood.
Dr. Mitra Shahverdi is a young physician living in the southwest city of Shiraz, Iran. On the eve of the new year, she is having a fitful night. She had been tossing and turning and losing the battle with sleep. Fortunately, if sleep would not happen, she had the next seven days as holiday in connection with the new year; plenty of time to catch up on sleep.
Finally, just as Mitra is about to drift off, there is a sudden noise. Whatever fell in her apartment caused a noticeable shake and the notion of sleep was gone for good. Mitra decides to investigate. What she discovers is beyond comprehension as to what she is supposed to do with her discovery.
Mitra was not prepared to find a young boy crouched and cowering naked and in the corner of her bathtub. He was five or six years old and Mitra could not grasp the concept of how he even got into her home; let alone her bathtub. She contacted the authorities, and a lieutenant was dispatched to her home. Mitra’s frustrations began to rise when it was abundantly clear the lieutenant didn’t assume the same sense of urgency as she did. His attitude was she would need to care for the young boy until after Nowruz (The Persian New Year) and perhaps then, a solution would present itself as far as next steps. The one elephant in the room that seemed to persist, but was not getting any attention, however, was Mitra didn’t have children...didn’t want children...and wasn’t sure why the lieutenant simply couldn’t remove this child from her home at once. As time unfolds, it is interesting to experience the emotions and challenges both navigate to arrive at their respective end destinations.
This was an interesting read in that Mr. Vakili sets a tone from the onset of how adamant his character, Dr. Shahverdi, is against the responsibility of motherhood. There is a mysterious and sublime way Mr. Vakili lays the plot to keep his audience engaged from the onset in that one isn’t certain if this is a fantasy or a reality. This is a very quick read, and the author does an admirable job of keeping the mystery alive as to what the outcome will be. One word of caution I would suggest to the author, however, is to be sure to edit thoroughly before delivering the final copy. In fairness, I was given an advance copy to read, but did notice quite a few errors, including on more than a few occasions the author refers to Dr. Shahverdi as ‘he’ versus ‘she.’
Quill says: Motherhood is a great depiction of how things may not be what they seem, and it truly is difficult to escape from who we truly are.