Kader Abdolah

Het huis van de moskee

For eight hundred years the house next to the mosque in the Iranian city of Senejan has been in the hands of one family, which has provided imams for the mosque for generations as well as producing the city’s leading merchants. At the start of the novel, in 1969, Aqa Jaan is Senejan’s most successful merchant and the head of its bazaar. He regards his great-nephew Shahbal as his natural successor.

When the Americans land on the moon, Shahbal, with the assent of Aqa Jaan, smuggles a television into the house, confronting another relative, the imam who lives there, with what is going on in the world.

Each member of the extended family in the house adopts a different stance. Some are opposed to the American modernity imported by the Shah, while others benefit from Western innovation. The politically inspired Islam that smoothes Ayatollah Khomeini’s path to power after the Shah is ousted works its way into the house. The imam reveals himself to be ‘Allah’s judge’, responsible for the torture and execution of hundreds of opponents of the new regime, including several who live, or used to live, in the house of the mosque.

The expressive power of his lyrical style and the combination of a now idyllic, now fairy tale, now horrifying atmosphere, makes The House of the Mosque no less than Abdolah’s masterpiece.


A moving elegy for a lost father and homeland, but also a voice raised against all forms of repression… My Father’s Notebook reads like a detective story: information is withheld so that we gradually discover the background to Ishmael’s exile.

The Guardian

On My Father’s Notebook:

Kader Abdolah’s fable-like story of a family caught in the turmoil of the Iranian revolution is beguiling and utterly original. It is that rare thing: a deeply political novel that informs, thrills, and moves in equal measure.

Tahmima Anam, author of A Golden Age

With seamlessly interwoven quotations from Persian and Dutch literature, deft storytelling and affectionate humour, he offers the reader buoyancy as well as weight My Father’s Notebook is a gift to English readers.



Kader Abdolah

Kader Abdolah (1954) belandde in 1988 als Iraanse vluchteling in Nederland. Al in 1993 debuteerde hij in het Nederlands met de bundel De adelaars over het leven in ballingschap. Met Spijkerschrift (2000) leverde Abdolah zijn meesterproef af, om met Het huis van de moskee (2005) zijn definitieve…

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Het huis van de moskee (2005). Fictie, 413 pagina's.


De Geus

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