What We Owe

by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde
Translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fleet (5 July 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 070889884X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708898840

Tehran, 1978: Nahid and Masood, both eighteen, are young lovers and young revolutionaries, determined to overthrow the Shah’s regime and help to bring about democracy. Their clandestine activities are dangerous, but with youth, passion and right on their side, they feel invincible. Then one night, Nahid allows her younger sister to come along to a huge demonstration. Violence breaks out. Nahid lets go of her sister’s hand. Everything changes.

As the revolution sours, and the loss becomes too much to bear, Nahid and Masood are forced to flee to Sweden, on borrowed money with forged passports. Tehran is no longer safe for them, and now they are expecting a baby; they need to get out before they lose everything.

Thirty years later, Nahid lies in a hospital bed replaying her life, raging at her carers, at her recent cancer diagnosis, at Masood, at her – now pregnant – daughter, and at her exile among people who while purporting to understand know nothing of what she has been through.

Told with startling honesty, dark wit and an irresistible momentum, What We Owe is a novel of love, guilt and dreams for a better future, vibrating with both sorrow and an unquenchable joie de vivre. — Publisher

Buy now on Amazon or via your local English bookstore.

Enjoy a reading of the book with the author in the following YouTube video of a Lit Lunch with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

About the author

Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde was born in Iran in 1983 and fled with her parents to Sweden as a young child. She graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and was named one of 50 Goldman Sachs Global Leaders. She is the founder and director of Inkludera Invest, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting marginalization in society by backing social entrepreneurs who have developed pragmatic solutions to social challenges.

She debuted in 2012 with the novel, She Is Not Me (Hon är inte jag). Her second novel, What We Owe, was published by Wahlström & Widstrand in August 2017.

Hashemzadeh Bonde lives in Stockholm together with her husband and daughter.

About the translator

Elizabeth Clark Wessel is a poet, Swedish-to-English translator, and small-press editor based in Stockholm, Sweden. Born and raised in rural Nebraska, she spent many years living in New York and Connecticut. She received her BA in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in poetry and literary translation from Columbia University, where she taught in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program. https://elizabethclarkwessel.com/