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Reviewed by Les Wiggill for Readers' Favorite
In Motherhood, Siamak Vakili tells the story of a young woman, Ms. Shahverdi, whose life-long dream was to become a medical doctor. In spite of growing up in a very poor home, she got married to a respectable man while she was studying, fell pregnant soon thereafter, and gave birth to a son. She achieved her ambition of becoming a doctor, but in order to do so, she ran away from her family, including her husband and their newborn son. Not even her own mother knew where she had disappeared to. One stormy night in very curious circumstances, a 5-year-old boy lands up in Dr. Shahverdi’s apartment and from then on, her well-organized life is thrown into turmoil and confusion. She is faced with the reality that she had abandoned her own son five years previously and now has to take care of a 5-year-old boy that has literally dropped from the sky, who cannot remember anything about his past or who his parents are. Being confronted with this predicament, she decides to call her mother for the first time since leaving Tehran five years previously, and this leads to a remarkable turn of events.
Siamak Vakili uses beautiful imagery to describe Dr. Shahverdi’s journey in Motherhood to reach the place where she is prepared to accept the responsibilities of motherhood and she starts to make a connection with children for the first time. She clearly had no maternal instincts at all when she gave birth to her son. Instead, her ambitions of becoming a medical doctor overrode all other considerations. The story is told with sensitivity, giving a clear progression of her emotional struggles until she eventually reaches the place of genuine desire to become a mother. The translation into English by Zubin Mistry is a bit problematic but in spite of that, the story is enjoyable, intriguing, and reads very well.