When Reason Sleeps is a biography of Manuchihr Farzaneh-Moayyad, as recounted by his wife Mehri to her dear friend Audrey Mellard. It is a compelling narrative of hope, indomitable spiritual strength, courage and faith. It tells the story of Manuchihr’s unjust arrest, imprisonment and execution because of his beliefs, and Mehri’s subsequent time in prison and harrowing escape out of Iran. Audrey has penned their story beautifully and shares with us about her book in this interview:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have thought of myself as a writer since I was seven years old, but it has taken me a long time to find what I wanted to write, apart from press releases, slide show scripts and one very brief TV script. Since I am now 85 years old, my future output is not likely to be massive, but there was a man on Orkney whose story I would like to tell.
I have been married for more than sixty years to Keith, and we were friends for ten years before we married, meeting when I was fourteen and he was thirteen, although my parents did not allow me to have a boyfriend until I was sixteen.
We had four children in slightly less than four years, and I spent 18 years at home with them, after which I joined the civil service as a clerical officer. During the time I was at home with the children, I did all the clerical work for my husband’s business, doing all the bookkeeping, dealing with the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise (VAT) etc. It was difficult at times, because as soon as the telephone rang, every child wanted my immediate attention!!
Since my husband had to give up sculpture last year due to arthritis in his hands, I used his stone and marble stores and started to make a garden alongside his studio. This is my ongoing project at the moment.
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about your book, When Reason Sleeps?
What can I say? It is a biography of a most remarkable woman I feel privileged to know. I hoped to do justice to the story and to my subject.
It is true that writers should keep notebooks, for my opening sentence was actually jotted down over fifty years ago, and when I needed it, there it was.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write it?
Mehri was always talking about her husband, but as I came to know her, I realized that her story was every bit as interesting, and horrifying, albeit in a slightly different way, as his. I became determined to tell her story as well as I could.
Baha’i Blog: What was a particular challenge that you overcame during the writing of this book, or what crisis and victory did you experience while putting this book together?
Language was a problem, I only have English, and O level French. Mehri speaks Farsi, a little Arabic and English, which is better than she thinks it is. She refused to be recorded, and I have no shorthand, only frantic scribbling to try to keep up with her when her thoughts were really flowing. To my regret, I lost her authentic voice when she was at her most lyrical, speaking of spiritual matters. I am a pragmatist, and in any case, I was at great pains “not to put words into her mouth”. I can only hope I have succeeded.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away from reading this book, long after they’ve read its last pages?
I would hope that anyone reading it might be sufficiently intrigued to want to find out more about the Baha’i Faith. I cannot expect anything more.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Audrey, for sharing this with us.
You can purchase Audrey’s book here on Amazon: When Reason Sleeps
You’ll also find it available with other Baha’i online book distributors.