Mahmud Doulatabadi is one of the most preeminent novelists of Iran. I discovered Dowlatabadi * when I was 17. I knew Kelidar (کلیدر) was an important book to read. My younger sister who was always richer than I, spent all of her summer savings to buy this 5-volume novel: the love story of Maral and Gol-Mohammad; in the turbulent history of their tribes of Iran's north east province, Khorasan. I remember living with the book, reading it nonstop for 10 days, hardly eating or sleeping. I was perhaps too young for it then; but I couldn't put it down. Maral reminded me of my own grandmother; and the story taught me about the intricacies of individuality, honor, loyalty, love, passion and the cost of breaking from conformity. I read his other books later, but to date, and to author's admission, Kelidar remains his most "perfect" book!
* I have spelled Dowlatabadi in all possible phonetic forms. Inconsistencies are intentional.