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Title: Under the Skin of Men
Authors: Niazi, Siamak
Advisors: Thorne, M
Watkin, W
Keywords: Iranian culture;Sufism;Samuel Beckett;Brotherhood;Immigration
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Two Iranian brothers, after twenty years, meet in London to look for their sibling’s assassin, bonded by their differences and secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Kia Karamian’s brother, Pasha, is murdered on the way to his father’s funeral. Kia finds evidence that connects Pasha’s death to London, where he is going to attend a series of Shakespeare conferences. The spirit of Hamlet echoes throughout the novel. In London, his elder brother, Arash, a maverick communist, locates him. Arash left Iran to study medicine in the Philippines two decades earlier and has yet to go back. As a child Kia adored Arash, but on their first meeting, he realises that he doesn’t have much in common with him. Vegetarian, non-smoker and teetotal, Kia is a considerate man of integrity, while Arash is quirky, charismatic and quick-witted. He has money, madness and comrades who would give up their lives for him. Having his brother as his role model all his life, Kia is unable to refuse his request when Arash asks him to drink with him and join him in unwonted ventures that challenge his principles. Arash’s comrades chaperone Kia wherever he goes. Kia believes that there is no threat and his brother’s obsession with security is due to his past political activities. He discovers that Arash, who is reluctant to talk about his private life, is married and has two children, Cyrus and Nina. The latter is in a wheelchair because of an accident (suicide attempt). Kia finds Cyrus friendly and intelligent, but under his father’s spell. Kia makes a surprise visit to Arash’s house where his thirteen-year-old niece, Nina, attacks him. Later, Arash explains that when Pasha had lived in London, he had sexually abused Nina, which was the reason she had attempted suicide. Arash confesses that he had had their brother killed. Cyrus disappears when Kia is trying to get closer to him and his sister. Arash claims that he has been kidnapped by Essy, the ex-ambassador of Iran to the Philippines, who had followed Kia to London. Having been trained to work with explosive devices in his military service, Kia agrees to make a bomb that Arash says he needs to save his son. Essy meets Kia and tells him that Pash’s death had been his own fault, trying to assassinate him, using his father’s funeral as his alibi. Kia realises that Arash has lied to him about killing their brother to protect him from trying to take revenge and, like Pasha, getting killed. During the changeover of Cyrus with his father, someone shoots Arash, but Kia takes the bullet. Essy is arrested for the possession of a bomb in his car. During his recovery, Kia gets to know Nina better and establishes a rapport with her. He confesses to her that he had terminated his father’s life to relieve him of his suffering, believing that he would have chosen a good death over an undignified life. Beyond their apparent contrasting principles, Pasha realises that he is uncannily indistinguishable from Arash.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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