The Persian novel on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war "Chess with the Doomsday Machine" has been introduced as a reference source at Rutgers University located in the American city of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Authored by Habib Ahmadzadeh, the book has been translated into English by U.S. translator Paul Sprachman, who is vice director of the Undergraduate Studies Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University.
The book is recommended as one of the reference texts in the Department of Classical Literatures of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia to be reviewed in the Introduction to Literatures of the Middle East course along with several other books.
The class aims to introduce, discuss and analyze important literary works of the Middle East and to help participants discover what gets lost in English translations of Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian prose.
The course also helps to provide sufficient background in Middle Eastern literary cultures and histories to help to explain and refine participants' understandings of other program readings.
"My Name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk, "The Lover" by Yehoshua, "Women of Sand and Myrrh" by Hanan al-Shaykh, "The Masnavi" and "The Arabian Nights" are other books introduced in this course.
"Chess with the Doomsday Machine" is set in Ahmadzadeh's native Abadan, a city located on an island near the Persian Gulf. Because of its strategic importance to the Iranian petroleum industry, Abadan was the target of heavy bombardments during the early stages of the conflict.
Using an advanced radar system developed in Europe, Iraqi forces were able to home in on Iranian artillery emplacements almost as soon as they fired.
It was the task of the narrator, a young Basiji (volunteer paramilitary) spotter, to locate the radar so that it could be destroyed. The novel paints a striking tableau of a city under siege.
The book has been translated by the editor-in-chief of the Albanian Daily News Genc Mlloja into the Albanian language. It is also available in Arabic.