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The House That War Minister Built

A new novel about Iran by Princeton graduate Andrew Dayton and his wife Elahe covering the Iranian experience from the 1920s into the post 9/11 era.


In the crumbling days of the Qajar dynasty, Nargess’s fate seems sealed as the upstart Reza Khan Shah sends his army to surround her husband’s palace. She has no idea that the greatest threat comes from within. For the next three quarters of a century, Nargess and her family will contend with arrogance, betrayal, foolishness and moral dissolution, as they search for self-love and redemption, which only one of them will find – on a deathbed in a strange land.

What is it like to belong to a harem, in thrall to a powerful warlord? Or to survive at the whim of foreign opportunism? The House That War Minister Built examines these issues and many others as it portrays an Iranian family dispossessed by the conflicts between a medieval religion and a modernizing population, between emerging nationalism and foreign repression. At times tragic, at times humorous, the novel is an epic saga with iconic characters, cultural insights and evocative historical details, covering the Iranian experience from the 1920s into the post 9/11 era. Tapping an unmet desire for epic fiction about Iran and Shia Islam, it will appeal to readers who liked Reading Lolita in Tehran, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Andrew Imbrie Dayton received his undergraduate degree from Princeton, and advanced doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, where he met and married Elahe. He subsequently did postdoctoral studies at Harvard and now lives in the Washington, DC area. He has previously published short fiction in the Potomac Review and is a contributing editor for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Elahe Talieh Dayton was born, raised and educated in Iran, eventually earning a doctorate from the University of Tehran. Subsequently she immigrated to the United States to study at the University of Pennsylvania, where she met and married Andy and earned another doctoral degree, followed by postdoctoral work at Harvard.

Thursday, October 20th from 6 PM to 7:30 PM

Law offices of Duane Morris LLP at One Market Plaza, Spear Tower, Suite 2200 (Near the Embarcadero BART station)

Please RSVP to David Marshak '66


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