Twelve Days in Persia: Across the Mountains with the Bakhtiari Tribe

Christopher de Bellaigue writes:

Vita Sackville-West went twice to Persia because her husband was on a posting there, and while there was never any suggestion that she would exchange her glittering English existence to keep house at the legation, she went without compulsion, because she missed him. This, her second trip, would take her among some of the wildest inhabitants of Persia, the Bakhtiari tribe – whose origins, lost in antiquity, remained (and remain) the subject of romantic speculation. And if, after getting home, she is ‘loath to let the whole thing go unrecorded’, it is less that she has valuable new information to impart than that she sees her own life as a necklace of epiphanies, each one important, each one asking for recognition. She will ‘clap the net over the butterfly of the moment’.

(LRB 25 March 2010)

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