1990s >> 1995 >> no-1093-september-1995

Book Review: No happy ending here

The Little Black Fish by Behrang (published by the Iranian Community Centre, Holloway Road. London. 1995.)
Samad Behrangi, known in his native Iran as Behrang, was a teacher who wrote stories which would make children think beyond the narrow confines of the slave mentality. In 1967, aged only 31, he was drowned (by Savak agents, so we hear), but his stories live on. To be able to show in the simple terms accessible to children the importance of thinking critically and struggling against oppression is surely one of the highest arts. The Little Black Fish is a beautiful tale of a fish’s search for life beyond the brook in which it lives. The other fish say that there can be nothing worth seeing beyond the brook and, anyway, no good can come of exploring the unknown. With mixed sadness and allegorical poignancy this story shows what can happen when resistance overcomes complacency. No happy ending here, but then, why tell lies to children?
Steve Coleman