Writers Under Siege: Voices of Freedom from Around the World
Writers Under Siege:
Voices of Freedom from Around the World
by Lucy Popescu
$18.95 List Price
“How dangerous writing can be!” exclaims Reza Baraheni in “A Minor Mistake,” the first selection in Writers Under Siege, an invaluable anthology prepared by PEN to commemorate its eightyfifth anniversary. Baraheni’s starkly beautiful and embittered account recalls his near execution in Iran’s Evin prison, where a scribble on the sole of a prisoner’s foot indicates a sentence of capital punishment, transforming the act of writing into a literal harbinger of death. “Do what you can to stay alive,” a fellow inmate pleads, prompting Baraheni to scream at the guards and show them his unmarked feet. His terrifyingly absurd experience reads like an existentialist parable, and its last lines resound as piercingly as the executioner’s gunshot he describes.
Baraheni’s brief chronicle inaugurates themes that weave in and
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