The painful wrenching away from the traditional concepts of filial piety, the inevitably savage struggle waged by the son once he is convinced of the right to total independence, is the subject of this novel set in contemporary Teheran. The hero, a meditative young man, is paralyzed by his ambiguous role, for although he believes in his own autonomy, he cannot express it in effective action. Unable to free himself from the guilt of his own rebellion, he retires into a purified isolation in which only he, his ideas, and a daring liaison with a feminine counterpart are admitted. Into this world intrudes the demand of traditional duty, and, unable effectually to fulfill his father's command to implicate himself in a political intrigue, he ultimately becomes the victim of the plot, and, innocent, is arrested as an assassin. He accepts the sentence with the ironic realization that in this crime is his own symbolic murder of his father, and, refreshed by self insight, awaits the release of death. Derivative in tone of those nightmare shades first cast by Kafka and Camus, this is an intricate story which captures the poignancy of its hero's conflict, but lacks the scope and vitality of a truly compelling novel.