Darius the Great is Not Okay
by Adib Khorram read by Michael Levi Harris
Meet Darius Kellner, "Fractional Persian," slightly overweight sophomore, and tea aficionado. His commentary is liberally sprinkled with references to Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. He adores his Persian mother, dotes on his younger sister Laleh, and navigates a complicated father/son relationship. He's nerdy and possess a biting wit referring to classmates as the "Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy," and frequently doubts himself "That's normal. Right?"
He is also a young man suffering with clinical depression.
Life takes an unexpected turn when the family travels to Iran to visit his Zoroastrian grandfather who is diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Darius confronts the reality of his identity as a young man of Persian heritage who has been raised in a decidedly western culture. Is he American or Iranian? Is it possible to be a part of each? He discovers that he has a talent for playing soccer/non-American football, a love for his maternal family, and the ability to forgive and be forgiven by a friend.
Darius returns to America with increased acceptance of himself, greater appreciation for his family, and a clearer understanding his depression.
Harris' narration invites listeners into the world of Darius the Great is Not Okay. It's an experience as rich and satisfying as an elaborate Persian meal. The memories will linger long after the final literary morsel is consumed.
Bonus: Listen up
- How many times has Khorram watched Star Trek? Does he keep some kind of record of his favorite episodes?
- Precisely how particular is Khorramabout about his tea?
- Where did he come up with all of the detailed descriptions of the food? Did he grow up with Persian food? How much eating was involved in the development of the book?
- Is the version of Rook that I learned to play as a child similar to the game played in Iran?