A(nn) G(race) Mojtabai 1938–
Mojtabai's two most critically successful novels, Mundome (1974) and Autumn (1982), are narratives which take place almost completely within the mind of a character. They reflect her attempt to deal with "a state of mind, a voice" rather than with action or plot. Mundome, about a man caring for his mentally disturbed sister and worrying about his loss of sanity, was especially well received by critics. Margaret Atwood called it "a gem of a book: small, brilliant, cut with lapidary precision, and static. It is a novel in which little happens but much is said, and it is said remarkably well." Autumn was uniformly praised for its unsentimental treatment of a man growing old after the loss of his wife.
Mojtabai's other two novels have more conventional plots. The 400 Eels of Sigmund Freud (1976) is the story of a group of high school students confined to a mansion as part of a scientific experiment. A Stopping Place (1979), set in Pakistan where Mojtabai has lived, is both a story of foreign intrigue and also of the cultural differences between East and West. Her style, which some critics have described as pure, simple, and clear, and others as bleak, bloodless, and stark, is perhaps not so well suited to these more traditional novels and they have received mixed reviews.
(See also CLC, Vols. 5, 9, 15 and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 85-88.)