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BookBrowse Reviews Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar

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Martyr!

A Novel

by Kaveh Akbar

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar X
Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar
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  • Published:
    Jan 2024, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Chloe Pfeiffer
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In this debut novel, an Iranian American poet, struggling with depression and addiction, embarks on a writing project about martyrdom to try to find meaning and grace in his family's lives and deaths.

In Kaveh Akbar's debut novel Martyr!, Cyrus Shams is an aimless twenty-nine-year-old poet living in an Indiana college town. His life is mostly oriented around survival—staying sober, mitigating the sadness and depression he's lived with since he was a child, eking out a living as an actor for medical residents by performing various mortal ailments. But he thinks about death a lot. His mother was a passenger on Iran Air Flight 655, an airplane flying from Tehran to Dubai in 1988 that was accidentally shot down by the United States Navy, who never apologized for their error (see Beyond the Book). All 290 civilians, most of them Iranian, died; Cyrus might have been on the flight himself had his mother not decided against it. After his mother's death, Cyrus and his father moved from Tehran to Indiana, where his father lived unhappily until Cyrus was in college, at which point he ...

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Beyond the Book:
  Iran Air Flight 655

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