Why Iran has 16 different translations of one Khaled Hosseini novel

If JD Salinger could see what was on the shelves in Iranian bookshops, he would turn in his grave. The Inverted Forest, a 1947 novella that he refused to republish in the US for more than half a century, is widely available in Farsi in most Iranian bookshops, for just 90,000 rials , or £2.20. (English-reading Salinger diehards hunting on AbeBooks only have the option of a $500 secondhand copy of the Cosmopolitan issue where it originally appeared). The Inverted Forest’s publication in Farsi is just one example of Iran’s messy, complicated, yet fascinating translation scene, which has long been undermined by the country’s failure to join the Berne convention on copyright . Iranian authors who publish in their home country are offered some protection under national law, but the work of writers who publish outside Iran is completely unprotected. According to the Tehran Times , one Iranian translator has secured the copyright to produce a version in Farsi of Paula Hawkins’s 2017 novel, Into the Water. But at least five others are already working on competing translations. Thanks to Iran’s love for literature, Tehran bookshops boast a diverse range of foreign titles, spanning everything from Marcel Proust to […]

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