From a lesser writer, one might expect numerous pinholes to develop within this complex and twisting storyline, not to mention a sentimentality found in gone-off-to-war pseudo heroic narratives. Instead, Mandanipour treats us to a new kind of story by filtering his novel through the dual personas of the angel of virtue and the angel of sin ... Images of war and beauty exist in close proximity, and the sudden turn from idyllic to grotesque mirrors the precariousness of human life in wartime ... It’s quite remarkable, and should be counted as a tremendous success, then that Shahriar Mandanipour sustains this tightrope act for well over 400 pages, both rewarding and delighting those who make the journey.
Shahriar Mandanipour’s narration likewise sings despite the dreadful realities it faces. It offers beauty while confronting the ugliness of revolution, oppression, and war. Moon Brow forms a melodic whole in the face of the traumatic fracturing of both the protagonist’s body and the body of a nation. To its mournful song, we should bear to listen.
The novel’s halting narrative flow, alternating as it does between two 'scribes' on Amir’s left and right shoulders, respectively, is disorienting at first, but the patient reader will be rewarded with a dazzling mosaic of a troubled young man and a troubled yet gloriously rich nation.