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On June 20, 2009, during demonstrations to protest the contested and controversial Iranian presidential election, a young girl named Neda Agha-Soltan was shot to death in the streets of Tehran. Within hours, the video footage of her death, captured on a roving camera-phone, had circled the globe. It was also the moment of choice for Arash Hejazi - a writer who had originally trained as a doctor - who tried and failed to save Neda's life. Within days Hejazi left Iran to tell the world the story the government was denying: Neda had died at the hands of the pro-government militia. The Gaze of the Gazelle is Hejazi's personal story of how that tragedy came to be and how it will change the course of politics in Iran for a new generation. In a tale that mingles politics and the personal, mythology and history, Hejazi tries to answer the question: How did it come to this? His quest for an answer leads him through the story of the decades-long aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, when Ayatollah Khomeini was brought back from exile to drive the Shah from his throne and set up the Islamic Republic of Iran. Against the background of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran and the prolonged war that followed, Hejazi skillfully interweaves his own story and those of his family and friends with the machinations of the mullahs and politicians who seek to control Iranian lives. This timely, moving, and eloquent book describes the determination of a new generation to recover hope in the name of Neda, who gave her life in pursuit of a freer and better world.
Arash Hejazi is an Iranian editor, translator, novelist, and journalist. He co-founded the independent publishing house Caravan Books in Tehran, where he is editorial director. His books include The Grief of the Moon and the award-winning The Princess of the Land of Eternity.