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Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar review – an antihero in search of meaning

In Martyr!, the debut novel by Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar, a troubled young man is searching for a reason to live.

Cyrus, the son of an Iranian migrant factory worker in Indiana, lost his mother in an infamous 1988 air disaster, when a US missile cruiser mistakenly shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in the final months of the Iran-Iraq war.

This formative trauma has left a terrible legacy: when we meet him, in his late 20s, he’s a…

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