‘Seeing Ershadi’ by Nicole Krauss

I went through a phase of listening to the New Yorker fiction podcasts to help me sleep. Because of this, there’s a whole lot of brilliant stories that I know the openings to in great detail, but whose endings I don’t really remember. One of those is ‘Seeking Ershadi’, which, in the best possible way, always sent me to sleep. I promise this is a genuine compliment! It’s in no way boring, but the gentle flowing prose and dreamlike storyline takes you effortlessly along. In the story, the protagonist believes they’ve spotted Ershadi, the actor in Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Taste of Cherry’, a film I sought out after listening and relistening to Krauss’ story. The film, already dreamlike, took on an extra layer of surrealness, as I felt I’d already encountered Ershadi myself, even though I couldn’t quite remember what happened to his character. I recommend both the story and the film, but don’t ask me about either of their endings, because I can’t say I understand them…

First published in The New Yorker, February 2018. Subscribers can read online here

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