Asef Soltanzadah is one of the most thought-provoking Afghan writers. His work, set exclusively during wartime, may be characterized by both seriousness and playfulness. To borrow Warren Motte’s words, “playing in earnest” is his literary signature. Yet, he occupies a marginal place within the institution of world literature not only because he writes in Persian but also because he is minimally translated and read. In this article, I turn to two of his short stories featuring a game of cards and kite flying, setting them into conversation with theories of play. I argue that by creating a space for play, Soltanzadah brings into visibility and reflects on the process, promise and risk of transforming mere life into life world within the time and space of war, challenging the theoretical framing of play in relation to the real world while questioning the possibility of worlding in the time of war.
- Persian literature
- War narrative
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory