A friend recently convinced me that this book should be furnished with some sort of introduction to avoid any gross misunderstanding on the reader’s part. I am sure it would not excuse any inherent flaws in the text to follow, but it would hopefully clarify my intent.
This book is among other things a novella of ideas proceeding mainly through dialogue, letters and symbolism. The name Ahriman itself symbolizes somewhat ironically the exuberant demonic spirit, which is potentially creative, and not the Manichean “evil” of Zoroastrianism. Moreover, the pace of a novella is quicker than that of a full-length novel and much more concerned with the central theme than any elaboration of life in general.
The time span in which the narrative takes place is a yearlong cycle from one spring to the next. The city and village settings are in Pakistan; they are not named specifically because it was irrelevant to the theme.
The import of this novella is not so much to portray reality as to create a lifelike situation where ontological and aesthetic concerns often arise with allusions to the humanities.
No effort has been made to provide detailed psychological analyses of the characters. Their thoughts and actions are to be interpreted by the reader in certain passages and connected to previous events because occasional subjective or analytic remarks in narration do not mean that the narrator is omniscient.
The protagonist exchanges domestic bliss for spiritual ascent. It does not imply that these two modes of being are totally incompatible, but rather indicates how chance and necessity work on the hero’s psychological makeup beyond his comprehension and foresight. And one can never be sure if any measure of foresight would have caused him to wish things differently.
28 September 2001
Ahriman – a novella (pdf)