In her 1991 novel, Gina B. Nahai released the energy of her own ancestors; travelling through times, countries and people’s hearts, she managed to describe a difficult history of the Iranian Jews (from 1780s to the present).
Trivia: Gina B. Nahai is a professor of creative writing at the University of Southern California.
The novel, which is written in the convention of magic realism, tells the story of Peacock, a 116-year-old woman who is imprisoned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. From her prison cell, she tells us a story of her tribe, of her love to Salomon the Man, and of the choices she made. It is a powerful and skillful blend of history and fantasy – a longing of the Arabian Nights; waiting for the fulfilment of your deepest dreams.
I remember this book was a page turner. It is very well-written, evocative and alluring. It is also very sensual – you can almost smell the ointments, almonds, cinnamon, or cherry blossom. You see the colours of the earth, yellow agates, warm milk green jades and olives.
If I were to transfer this atmosphere, colours and smells to one type of interior, I’d choose a bathroom.
Inside the house, water flowed from pipes that opened with the turn of the knob, the maids spent hours watching their own reflection in porcelain bowls called toilets, and every night, Naiima walked from room to room – like a muse with a holy touch – and pulled at a string connected to a small bulb that suddenly bathed the room with light.
This is how I’d see the Cry of the Peacock-inspired bathroom:
In this style:
This is a wonderful Polish porcelain set from the collection ETNO by Zulana.pl
Perhaps a moment of reflection over a cup of cinnamon topped-coffee?
I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote many years ago and which, in my opinion, has some kind of longing and strength found in Gina B. Nahai’s novel. Hope you’ll like it.
Like dreams rocked by the ship
she tucked him into bed
in a sky-blue linen sheet
smelling of starch.
She hung on his neck
a necklace made of sea-shells
which reflected the light of the moon
and of the lighthouse.
In a gentle whisper
she told him the stories
of sailors and mermaids,
And like a mermaid she stirred his senses.
The very next morning,
when she came to wake him up,
she found on the bed
a handful of sand
smiling towards the Sun.