Title: Kingdom

Author: Bahram Sadeghi

Publisher: Moin

Subject: Persian stories of the 14th century

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 114

Language: Farsi



Introducing the book The Kingdom by Bahram Sadeghi
The Book of the Kingdom is the only long story left by Bahram Sadeghi who had a long history in writing short stories. A literary award named after the late author has been awarded in recognition of his golden pen and his place in short story writing.

Before reading the book of the kingdom, we should know that we are not faced with a simple work. Rather, we enter a surreal world, or rather a magical realism. A world with a deep philosophical burden.

We need to know that this book is not just a story. Behind this narrative lies a deep philosophical burden. It is not unreasonable that the kingdom is considered the only Iranian work that is comparable to Sadegh Hedayat’s masterpiece, The Blind Owl. In the following, we will review the book of the kingdom.
The kingdom does not have many characters, but each character in this story can be a symbol of a fact or a reference to a part of the philosophy that the author is trying to convey. In fact, it can be said that the characters in the book of the kingdom are a means to convey the audience to the concept intended by the author. In the following critique of the book of the kingdom, we will deal with each of these characters separately.

It is better to explain the story from the perspective of the narrative and then to examine its underlying layers. Note that here we go into the details of the book of the kingdom, and if you have not yet read the book and are sensitive to the disclosure of the material, it is better to postpone the study of the book of the kingdom to another time.

Kingdom Book Review
This is the shocking beginning of the book:

“At eleven o’clock on Wednesday night that week, the demon dissolved in Mr. Movadat.”

The book begins with the demon incarnation in Mr. Movadat. Now his friends, who had gathered with Mr. Movadat for fun in a garden outside the city, want to take him to the city to see Dr. Hatem. We know Mr. Movadat’s friends by these names: Secretary, Obese Man, and Mr. Anonymous.

The information we get from Dr. Hatem, the central character of the story, seems strange to us from the very beginning. He is a four-shouldered man, half of whom is young, and the other half is old. He does not get sick until one o’clock in the morning, but he is always awake at night. She has always been infertile and has no children. But every year he kills his new wives and students and makes soap with them! Of course, no one knows about his murders, and we find out through a secret conversation he has with an unknown man.

In fact, after Mr. Movadat’s friends met with Dr. Hatem and after Mr. Movadat’s treatment, Dr. Hatem pushed aside the unknown and honestly told him all his secret actions. After confessing to his murders, he talks about the ampoules he injects into people.
Dr. Hatem deceives people with these ampoules, telling them that his injectable substance has the power to increase longevity, and people rush to the kitchen every day to increase their longevity and fertility with these injections. If this is a toxic injectable substance that is supposed to kill all the people of the city in the next seven days and turn the city into a cemetery.

Dr. Hatem considers people idiots who can not get any other pleasure and hope out of this absurd life and are not aware of this absurdity. “People who are not stupid and ignorant do not come to me for these injections, and I have nothing to do with them,” he says. But the punishment of the people who come to me is death. According to Dr. Hatem, the other seven days that everyone dies are auspicious days.

Here we must also mention the second central character of the story.
On the upper floor of Dr. Hatem’s house, a person named M.L. Lives. He is a man who has had one of his limbs amputated every year at his own will, and now he has only one right hand left. With his right hand, which is the only remnant of his body, he writes about his memories and thoughts.

In fact, Mr. M.L. It upsets all of Dr. Hatem’s equations and makes him angry. Because it is different from everyone. He is the only one who is not afraid of death and even goes to greet him. This weakens and shakes Dr. Hatem in the face of his conscious awareness. Is it other than that death feeds on fear? It is not unreasonable that above the entrance to Dr. Hatem’s office, only this sentence is written: “Whoever enters must know nothing.”

Ignorance is the second thing that death feeds on.
Mr. M.L. It is as strange to us as Mr. Hatem. He lives here with Lalish Shoko’s servant. In his memoirs, he writes that he has known Dr. Hatem for a long time with different faces in the role of a philosopher and thinker, as if Dr. Hatem entered the life of M.L. last year. Has made a plan of friendship and camaraderie with his son and with the thoughts that in the language of the philosopher Mabaneh ate the son of M.L. Data has completely disappointed him in life.

Also M.L. He constantly heard voices forcing him to kill him, the same annoying sounds that eventually made him kill his son, and when he realized that his servant Shoko had seen the murder scene, he cut off Shoko’s tongue. م.ل. He believes that there is a person living inside him who has no control over him. He gets up whenever he wants and does whatever he wants.
He believes that the voice that forced him to do bad deeds for a long time was the voice of Dr. Hatem. Someone who once ruined his life and disappeared.

Now M.L. He found her in another outfit and recognized her.

م.ل. He has come to take revenge on Dr. Hatem, and his revenge is nothing but choosing to live with the same conditions he has. Continue living with this one remaining member. م.ل. He is stepping towards the resurrection and nothing could be more painful for Dr. Hatem than this.

Dr. Hatem is not satisfied with life. The constant duality that is evident in his body has bothered him. The duality of life and death. These two kingdoms. Death, on the one hand, and life, on the other, have always oppressed him, and he is suspended between the two heavens, just like his half-healthy and half-dead body, between earth and sky.

But the issue that Dr. Hatem is dealing with is not the issue of being or not being. It is to believe or not to believe! His suffering is that he does not know which kingdom to believe.
Dr. Hatem considers all people to be sinful and therefore worthy of death. He even accuses the butler of the last wife before killing him, and his wife’s guilt is nothing but leaving her family to live with Dr. Hatem. He blames his wife for this sin and then strangles her in his own hands. While the only force of temptation for this sin was Dr. Hatem himself!

The image of the woman we see here is very close to the ethereal woman we see in The Blind Owl. Here, too, Dr. Hatem feels helpless and powerless in the face of her beauty and ethereal body. The interesting thing is that while killing the butler, Dr. Hatem promises him a good life and says that he will meet him tomorrow in a happy life, which he has prepared for the butler.

The centrality of the story is based on the concern of death and human sin, and Dr. Hatem can be considered a symbol of the death bell or an image of the devil’s soul. Because human temptation leads them to sin and thus to leave this life.

The devil or the demonic force here is nothing but the same simple temptation, the same torment of the soul that comes with the characters in the story, the same inexhaustible apprehension, the same suffering of many years that is still behind the mind and writings of M.L. Remains. The same tree of sin, the same human principle!

At the beginning of each chapter, parts of the Qur’an or the Bible and the Torah are mentioned in the Book of the Kingdom, and this story is certainly not unrelated to the creation of man and Satan. Many concepts, concerns, and critiques can be found in religious and divine books.
Dr. Hatem and M.L. There are two central and important characters that guide the story. Dr. Hatem as a symbol of death and the devil and M.L. The symbol of the sinful man who represents all of humanity.

If we recall the story of the creation of man and the way he was expelled from heaven and thrown to earth as a result of a sin, we can understand the whole story of the kingdom, which is nothing but a story of sin and the expulsion of the weak man.

God created the world in seven days, and Dr. Hatem is going through the same creation in seven days through another path called death! It is better to mention again that Dr. Hatem is infertile, he does not and will not have children like the devil. It can be said that even part of his crimes and massacres stem from his castration complex. He is wearing a black robe and his age is unknown. It can also penetrate into any shape and body. All these characteristics show that we are not facing a human being!

م.ل. He is also a servant of sin. One who drops the nectar of the poison of sin in his blood and begins another seedling of sin. Everything is the prey of death. And man’s fear draws him to this deep, black well. As I said before, death, like the devil, feeds on human fear and ignorance.
We are slaves to death every second. And death every second is nothing but the loss and destruction of the moments we leave. Death is sucking our seconds with its repulsive force every moment. And we are the victim and the surrender and the doomed of the destruction of our moments. As M.L. By mutilating himself, he condemns himself to forgetfulness and self-punishment.

I should mention that Shoko, the servant of M.L. Indicator of the subconscious mind or, in a way, the conscience of M.L. Is. Someone who is always with him. The only person who from the ugly deeds of M.L. Is aware and M.L. He has cut out his tongue for fear of exposing his deeds! He has somehow suffocated the voice of his conscience and the voice of his subconscious. And here, too, the unknown, of whom we have no information, and at the beginning of the story, without saying a specific dialogue, silently listens to Dr. Hatem’s honest confessions, is Dr. Hatem’s subconscious. Someone who, from the beginning to the end of the story, with a cruel silence, and a sneering look, is just watching.

It is better to M.L. Let’s go back. He is a sinner who has destroyed everything, and now he has come to his senses and wants to build something meaningful on his ruins. He is a human being who is immersed in the mire of sin and now tries to lift himself from the depths of this filth in any way, even with one helpless hand.
It is clear that M.L. Now he seeks nothing but salvation. Seeking to solve the absurd philosophy of this world. And solving this difficult problem can be easier than you think. Perhaps at once a simple philosophy emerges from the depths of the philosophy of life with all its absurdity and complexity. And M.L. He realizes that this simple philosophy is the same as taking life easy. And the only key to not getting lost in this meaningless grandeur is to become a tiny little drop in the infinity of this great sea. To become “nothing”, to achieve “everything”.

It is simpler than this and M.L. Finds it. He knows that life is absurd and stupid, but before that he realizes that not living under the same conditions is more absurd and stupid than anything! In the face of death, man learns life. And when a person learns life, he can extract all the juice of life with just one week of survival.

But the human problem also begins here. Man has gone astray from where he was coveted. And all his sins stem from this one sin. From greed for a little more life. It seems that this life is not enough for human beings.
Man’s greed for work gives him life and draws him back into the black hole of destruction and decay. And this is the end of human sin and punishment. Greed to be alive. I feel that this is why Bahram Sadeghi named the last chapter of the book. The land on which man was expelled from heaven for the sin of picking apples, which was his greed. This earth is the mother of sinners whose human roots, like a tree, feed on this soil in order to give birth to other sins!

That is why in the end, Mr. M.L. As he learns to live, he is captured by the sin of greed and decays at the last moment. He, like other human beings, is a sinner on earth and deserves punishment, and deserves to be expelled!
م.ل. Just when he returns to life, his heart longs for eternal life, so the doctor wants to inject him with an injection of immortality. And this medicine is nothing but the destruction of the human race. It is as if everyone must pick this apple of sin!

Dr. Hatem is the destroyer god on earth. But he may also be the God of creation. And by inviting man to death, he has called for a new creation! As we said before; God completed the creation of man in seven days. And Dr. Hatem figures human destruction in seven days. And this destruction is another creation by Himself. Did not each of us human beings, because of our sin, be banished to this earth for picking apples? Is this a crime? Or some kind of creation?

Excerpts from the book of the kingdom
The question for me is to believe or not to believe. To be or not to be. Because I have always been! On all my travels, on foot, in the heart of the slopes, on horses and in cars, when the snow and storm blocked the roads, or when I was walking through the flowering trees, and that evening when we reached a city and went to its guest house, or In the morning when it rained and we knocked on the door of a peasant house to give us shelter, in the morning we would go to the field alone and pick up water from the well and eat it, if one of my wives was with me and if I was alone, I would always be.

Or, if it’s heavy for you, I put it another way: I feel like I can always be. (The Book of the Kingdom by Bahram Sadeghi – Page 23)
I have told you many times that if someone claims that his pocket is full of money, it is very easy to investigate or prove: it is enough to put the money in his pocket – if it is a coin – or to pull it out and show it, but Is it possible for someone to take the previous one and prove to his beloved that he is full of his love? (The Book of the Kingdom by Bahram Sadeghi – Page 61)

I paint my house, I wake up early in the morning, I brush my teeth regularly, so I become a tiny drop in this great sea, in this uniform ocean called the community of people.

I become like them with the same interests, habits and customs, even though they are despicable, absurd and stupid, and even though I have ridiculed them hundreds of times. Now I am suspended between the earth and the sky, I am alone and I belong to no one and no one, and this hurts me instead of bringing me pride.
My thoughts may now be great, I may be a realist who has felt all that is nonsense, and I may be someone other than the millions of ordinary people who eat and drink and have sex and have intercourse and die.

This is what torments me and I think it seems more absurd and stupid than anything… but from now on… I will be one of thousands… one of millions… and I will fit in a class and I will be relieved! I eat and drink and have intercourse like them, and I take life seriously and realistically. (The Book of the Kingdom by Bahram Sadeghi – Page 81)

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1- Introducing the book  on YouTube

2- Introducing the book  in Aparat

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