Coming Down Again (fiction)
Joobin Bekhrad, 2016
With an introduction by Rahill Jamalifard
Cover artwork by Melodie Hojabr Sadat
One seemingly endless summer in Tehran, Asha, a brokenhearted schoolboy on sleepy Cypress Lane, finds himself with nothing to do. Nothing, that is, except daydream about escaping to London to become a rock and roll star, wait for Keith Richards and the Stones to come on the television, let his imagination run amok in his mum’s closet, and pine away in vain for Arezu, the pretty girl upstairs who’s hit it off with a classmate of his.
Down and out in the manic, bustling Iranian capital, Asha only finds solace in Ghermezi, his battered cherry-red guitar, the pin-ups on his bedroom wall, and his dreams. Though he longs to leave Tehran, in which he sees no place or future for himself, he also holds in his heart a special love and affection for the only city he’s ever known.
It’s a good book. Congratulations on all you’ve done.
Victor Bockris, author of Keith Richards: The Biography
‘Coming Down Again’ offers a rich, rewarding immersion in the strangely familiar; its Bowie fan protagonist, Asha, cherishes his idea of London’s glam scene even while he struts and dreams in the streets of Tehran, amid that city’s very different sights, sounds, and scents. A wonderful portrait of teen abandon and ambition, and a fascinating counterpart to two of Bowie’s favourite books, ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’ and ‘Absolute Beginners’.
Will Brooker, author of Why Bowie Matters
I devoured it in one day, and I loved it! Such beautiful and descriptive writing that really captures those teenage feelings of angst, longing, and melancholy. You made me realise that — be it in Brooklyn or Tehran — we’re the same on the inside, even if the external stuff is different.
Bill German, author of Under Their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About it)
Joobin Bekhrad’s ‘Coming Down Again’ is packed with the faded ennui, delicious dalliances, and aching moments of invincibility that define a Iranian teenager’s coming of age. A brilliant novella by a clear, conscious voice in the style of excellent exile literature; evocative, crisp, and sumptuous, and abounding with poetic realism.
Playing ‘Ziggy Stardust’ in Iran: a magical rock and roll riff on growing up in Tehran.
Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire
A lyrical, rock ’n’ roll, Hafezian feat of zen and now.
Andrew Loog Oldham
Cool, but not hipster, Tehran: disaffected youth yearning for nothing more than their counterparts in the West do: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Joobin Bekhrad’s ‘Coming Down Again’ is a wonderful journey there.
Bekhrad takes you right back to that sweet spot of your teenage years where you are full of dreams and feel like anything is possible – and, that no one understands you. Then, he makes you want to do Bowie impressions in the mirror all night.
Sarah Maple, acclaimed multidisciplinary artist
Bekhrad is a master at exploring the difficulty teenagers have with making such life-changing choices.
Compelling counterpoints! A Bowie-obsessed teenager growing up in Ahmadinejad’s Tehran. Fascinating.
‘Coming Down Again’ is a wonderfully written book. I enjoyed every exuberant word of it.
Roald Nasgaard, award-winning author and curator, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Professor Emeritus of Art History at Florida State University
A poetic tale of teen angst in Tehran. Lovesick rock ’n’ roll wannabe Asha’s frustrations and desires are universal, but his situation is anything but. Set during the time of Ahmadinejad’s oppressive rule, ‘Coming Down Again’ captures the suffocating reality of being a teenage dreamer in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Lois Pryce, author of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road in Search of the Real Iran