“They will kill me.” That is the first sentence in this novel that isn’t a quote. And that’s how it ends. In between, everything overflows – bodily fluids, fantasy, violence. In 1999 Tehran, the mullahs have created a state where women can only hide away, have children and be silent. One girl, Sheyda, stands up to them. Is the protagonist crazy? The parents think, possibly. Yet she is perfectly clear-eyed in her resistance. It’s about women’s bodies in a country uninhabitable for women. A poetic and powerful reckoning with the theocracy, a debut that linguistically and imaginatively draws from the fullest, an uncanny interlocking of themes of physical experience recorded as memory on death row. In Sonja Finck’s propulsive, fearless translation – tremendously intense as a reading experience – this is an astonishing, unforgettable book.
– Verena Lueken, jury
Ava Farmehri lives in Canada. Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang is her first published novel. She writes under a pseudonym to protect herself and her family.
Sonja Finck studied literary translation in Düsseldorf. As a literary translator from French and English she lives in Berlin and Gatineau, Canada. She translates the work of Annie Ernaux, Catherine Mavrikakis, Naomi Fontaine and many others. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Eugen Helmlé Translation Prize for Complete Works (2019), the Coburg Forum of Young Authors Prize (2018) and the German Youth Literature Prize (2017).