Death in Persia

Annemarie Schwarzenbach

Death in Persia

Annemarie Schwarzenbach

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated by Lucy Renner Jones. With an Afterword by Roger Perret
156 pages | 5 x 8
Paper $12.50 ISBN: 9780857428233 Published April 2021


Since the rediscovery of her work in the late 1980s, Annemarie Schwarzenbach—journalist, traveler, archaeologist, opium addict, and antifascist novelist—has become a European cult figure among free spirited bohemians.


Available in English for the first time and beautifully translated by Lucy Renner Jones, Death in Persia is a collage of the political and the private, documenting Schwarzenbach’s intimate feelings and public ideas during four trips to Persia between 1933 and 1939. From her reflections on individual responsibility in the lead-up to World War II to her reactions to accusations from her friends of having deserted Europe and the antifascist cause for Tehran, Schwarzenbach recorded a great deal about daily life in Persia, and, most personally, her ill-fated love affair with Jalé, the daughter of the Turkish ambassador.


Chronologically preceding Schwarzenbach’s exquisite travelogue All the Roads are Open, an account of her automobile journey from Geneva to Afghanistan in 1939, Death in Persia is the enthralling diary of an astute observer standing at the crossroads of major events in history and a gorgeous new addition to Annemarie Schwarzenbach’s growing English-language oeuvre.


Translator’s Note

Part One
    In Teheran
    Ascent to the Happy Valley
    The White Tents of Our Camp
    Memories of Moscow
    At the End of the World . . .
    . . . And a Person at the End of Her Strength
    The Angel
    Memories: Persepolis
    Nights in Rages, or the Beginning of Fear
    Three Times in Persia . . .
    The Beginning of Silence
Part Two: An Attempt in Love
    The Accusal
    Conversation about Happiness
    Someone Will Come between Us
    A Garden Party
    Whisky, Fever and Singing Workers
    The Fight against Fear
    The Farewell
    The Angel and Jalé’s Death
    . . . Not Much Time Left
Review Quotes
Daniel Shvartsman | Bookslut

Death in Persia, no matter the high correlation with Schwarzenbach’s real experience, is a finely crafted work.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Above all, [Schwarzenbach’s] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”

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