This is literary travel writing at its best: brimming with history, anecdote and provocative analysis. The distillation of three years of travel and research, Mirrors of the Unseen is not only an exploration of the immensely rich heritage of Persian culture, but also a unique and timely portrait of contemporary Iran.
In it we are introduced to the hair-raising streets of Tehran, and ponder the sublime architecture of Isfahan; we travel on horseback through the forests of the north (as the guest of Princess Firouz), across the bleak landscapes of Kurdistan, and re-trace Robert Byron's steps to the sites of the nation's most fabled monuments.
Mirrors of the Unseen is also a passionate enquiry into the nature of Persian and Islamic art, challenging conventional definitions of 'abstract' art and yielding astonishing insights into its geometrical and symbolic sophistication.
Profound, illuminating and characteristically charming, Mirrors of the Unseen dispels all stereotypical views of a much-misrepresented country, and offers precious insight into a land from which we are likely to hear much more in the near future.
Praise for An Unexpected Light:
'An astonishing debut: one of the most remarkable travel books this decade' William Dalrymple
'I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel' Dorris Lessing
'Everything a travel book should be - truly memorable' Eric Newby
A tour de force of travel and memory: vividly evocative, courageous and self-award' Colin Thubron
Jason Elliot is the author of two books of travel writing, both published by Picador, and lives in London.
An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan (1999) is now widely acknowledged as the most influential contemporary work of Afghanistan. Winner of the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award in the UK and a New York Times Bestseller in the USA, it recounts the author's daring and passionate investigation into an extraordinary culture, first as a clandestine guest of the mujaheddin during the Soviet occupation, and ten years later during the Taleban advance on the besieged capital, Kabul.
Mirrors of the Unseen (2006) draws on three years of travel and research to offer a rare and timely portrait of Iran, introducing us to the sublime architecture of Isfahan, the forests of the north, the bleak landscapes of Kurdistan and the urban contradictions of the capital, Tehran. An exploration of Iran's immensely rich heritage and a personal enquiry into the nature of Persian and Islamic art. It is a book rich in detail, wit and discovery.