Baharloo, Morteza 1961–
Baharloo, Morteza 1961–
PERSONAL: Born 1961, in Darab, Fars, Iran; immigrated to United States, 1978; married; children: Sahar Claire, Yasmine Grace. Education: Attended Oregon State University School of Pharmacy. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, painting, poetry.
CAREER: Writer and entrepreneur. Healix, Ltd. (a health care company), Houston, TX, chairman and cofounder, 1989–.
The Quince Seed Potion (novel), Bridge Works (Bridgehampton, NY), 2004.
Author of three novellas and a travelogue in Farsi.
SIDELIGHTS: Although Morteza Baharloo has written novellas in his native language, Farsi, The Quince Seed Potion was his first novel published in English. In it Baharloo provides readers with the "engrossing, elegantly told story of a sweetly pathetic, supremely loyal family retainer," to quote Booklist reviewer Whitney Scott. This servant, Sarveali, who was sold to the Kahn family when only six years old, has lived an impotent life, both literally and figuratively, as the slave of a handsome young man and against the backdrop of a radically changing Iran. An Advocate critic likened The Quince Seed Potion to Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth for just this portrayal of an ancient nation on the road to change. Yet, told in the first person, this tale is more than the tale of a man who kills his adulterous wife in a drunken rage, is imprisoned, and becomes addicted to opium. According to Lawrence E. Butler, writing in Lambda Book Report, "the portrayal is sympathetic, giving some sense of dignity and purpose to [Sarveali's] obsession. Even his slide into opium addiction is treated gently, both by the author and by the characters around him." Butler continued, "The language throughout is strong, blunt and gorgeous, always witty and often obscene. It perfectly fits the casual cynicism and polished brutality of the world that surrounds Sarveali. Descriptions are spare, but the details richly suggestive of both the rural feudal world and the westernized cities of Twentieth Century Iran." Scott also suggested that Baharloo's readers might gain a "humanizing perspective on a history too many Americans know only through authoritarian stereotypes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, March 1, 2005, "From the 'Axis of Evil' to the Literary Realms of Spanglish," review of The Quince Seed Potion, p. S34.
Booklist, October 15, 2004, Whitney Scott, review of The Quince Seed Potion, p. 388.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of The Quince Seed Potion, p. 879.
Lambda Book Report, January-March, 2005, Lawrence Butler, "Devoted Servant," review of The Quince Seed Potion, p. 44.
Morteza Baharloo Home Page, http://www.mortezabaharloo.com (August 18, 2005).