Shahireh Sharif

Bazgasht, meaning return or homecoming, is a journey of self discovery through the eyes of two childhood friends. Revisiting their homeland, the mystical world and richness of Persian culture revitalises their spirits. Influenced by the writings of the Persian philosopher Attar, each finds new ways of coping with the difficulties of life as they get to know themselves and understand others.

The launch included an excerpt in Farsi with a translation in English, along with a screening of the short film Collection by Iranian filmmaker Peyman Mandegar.

See the film here:

To see pictures from the event click here


Below is an extract of her book translated into English:


Bazgasht (Homecoming)

Chapter 1: The Valley of Quest


“Come in. Please come in.” The old man said.


The fact we had arrived a good few hours earlier than expected didn’t seem to bother him. He opened the door wider and with a smile that echoed in his eyes beckoned us in. I followed Roxana into the narrow hallway. The moment that he closed the door behind us, the hallway’s only source of light became a semicircle stained glass above a wooden door frame far ahead of us. We walked to a door on our right, halfway along the corridor. It challenged the old man’s muscle power. As he pressed his shoulder to it, I gazed at the kaleidoscopic patterns that light passing through the stained glass painted on the wall.


The old man coughed hoarsely. His smooth pressing had become more of a battering action now. He had a sunburnt, stubbly face, and dark brown eyes that resembled two pieces of amber. His white hair swept upwards and away from his forehead and flailed with each of his assaults on the stubborn door. Finally the struggle ended.   We stepped in. The smell hit me. Stale tobacco. The old man kicked a corner of carpet that had been wedging the door.


He stopped by the door and ushered us in with his now familiar smile. Big, south facing wooden-frame windows separated the room from a garden. Sheer white lace curtains softened the sunlight flooding the floor. A large rug with flower patterns and a central rounded decoration was underfoot. The rug was longer than the length of the room and folded in at both ends, hence acted as the obstacle against the door. On one side of the room assorted furniture was crammed in, its faded, gold embroidery hinting at past glory.


The old man gestured to the sofa. “Please, be my guests.” Without hesitation we sat down, he flicked on the tall pedestal fan in the corner and, with a hand rubbing his shoulder, a legacy of his battle with the door, he span round and out of the room.


The smooth whirl of fan blades cut through the tobacco smell. I looked around. The wall-mount ledge was covered with an oval doily decorated with two red butterflies, a few old books and a crystal vase with artificial flowers. I turned towards Roxana who seemed relaxed on the sofa, she winked at me. Maybe as an attempt to avoid long eye contacts I looked up. Each of the two plaster ceiling roses had a naked bulb hanging from it.


It was as if the room and its furniture were telling stories of life: the butterflies that despite their permanently opened wings could not even reach the plastic flowers; the eternal flowers with their faded colour and the bulbs hanged perhaps as a punishment for operating against the darkness of despair. The intertwined knots of the carpet that formed its intricate design covertly exhibited my intermingled feelings and mixed emotions.


Roxanna leaned forward and squeezed my arm, I turned. Her eyes flicked to the door. We could hear footsteps approaching, but not the stumbling ones of the old man.