Shahzoda Samarqandi- translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega


Expected release date is 1st Aug 2024

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"I don't remember exactly whether my youth ended, and then the USSR, or if it was the other way around.  But I do know that those two things are connected.  Now I'm left here between two truths: the truth of the land, and the truth of the sea."


This haunting novel by the world's leading Tajik-language novelist is a time-twisting reverie on the bond between mothers and daughters.  Growing up in late Soviet-era Uzbekistan, Mahtab feels more at home in the cotton field-and in the past, as depicted in her mother's diary-than at school, where the books in the library are rewritten with every new political trend.  When a Russian film crew comes to town to make a movie about cotton, starring Mahtab in the role of her hero-worker mother, Mahtab suffers an accident that scrambles her memory.  As she struggles to recover, she must untangle her mother's story from her own, and navigate the hazy contours of memory, love, storytelling, and country to finally find herself.


In Mothersland, Shahzoda Samarqandi, the award-winning Tajik activist, poet and novelist from Uzbekistan, subverts a deeply-rooted metaphorical system in Persian literary culture: the land as woman. A socially entrenched metaphor that has framed conquest as male and the conquered as female becomes upended in Samarqandi's lyrical and powerful account of life at a moment of ecological and imperial collapse. One of the first climate novels composed in Tajik Persian, Mothersland is now available in Shelley Fairweather-Vega's bright and engaging English translation. Shahzoda Samarqandi is a crucial voice in our world today! 

-Aria Fani, assistant professor of Persian and Iranian studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and co-investigator of the Translation Studies Hub at the University of Washington