April 11, 2018
Our last meeting was a discussion of The Saddlebag, a book by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani. It is based on an anecdote about the theft of a saddlebag from the Bab, recounted in The Dawn-Breakers (pg. 103). Ms. Nakhjavani imagines the travels of the saddlebag after the theft, and how each person coming in contact with it, and the writings it contains, is affected.
Bookclub members were quick to point out the many Baha’i references contained in the story, which also has characters from most, if not all, of the current world faiths. As the setting is the area around Mecca and Medina, readers also discussed the many cultural references, some of which were understandable to western readers, and some of which were not. For example, the Bride is bringing her dowry along, marriage is arranged, and a slave is present. Superstitions play a part in the plot, but there are also occasions of apparent precognition or “sight”.