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A poignant yet gently satirical, mesmerising epitaph on life, Virgins of the Lake situates somewhere in the dark place between parody and obituary.
Based loosely on Persian myth, the plot weaves around Sohrab and his sister Nahid. The idea is that Zoroaster's seed was preserved in a lake, and at the approach of the millennium his seed will impregnate a fifteen-year-old virgin while she bathes, and a saviour conceived who will make the world right.
The ruling party is desperate to prevent such a happening.
Interwoven with deteriorating daily life as the Party rallies the town to work at tunneling through the mountain, the narrative explores with poetic subtlety the absurdly corrosive effects of tyranny and oppression.
Even those who flee are granted no chance at escape; their inevitable doom is mapped from the moment they decide to leave town, while the political effort to recruit journalists, artists and poets to the vain political cause continues unabashed.