In the two stories in Ryan Tahmaseb's Mutual Incomprehension, we explore the extent to which family predetermines one’s character, development, and behavior. In the first we meet Rahim, an ambitious man trying to live outside the influence of his father. The second follows Emily, the young woman whom Rahim marries, as she copes with the struggles of a new marriage and pregnancy at a young age. Tahmaseb's characters aspire to grace but struggle with their own dispositions and what feels like an unbridgeable distance between themselves and the ones they love.
Published in January 2016 by Anchor & Plume Press.
In Ryan Tahmaseb's Mutual Incomprehension, time and again the simple message his characters struggle to deliver -- "I love you" -- gets tangled in the vines of unmet expectations, resentment, fear and disappointment. With gentle melancholy and a sharp eye for detail, Tahmaseb ponders the timeless mystery of how the ties that bind our families can be at once so fragile and so strong.
- Charles Coe, author of All Sins Forgiven and Spin Cycles
In the two interconnected stories that make up Mutual Incomprehension, Ryan Tahmaseb deftly examines the paths that unfurl in the wake of the choices we make throughout our lives. Taking place against the lush backdrops of Boston and Seattle, Tahmaseb follows a young man determined not to become his father as he struggles against the undertow of his inherited nature. Spanning years, Mutual Incomprehension asks us to consider the pull, or “gravity” of family and how that influences the lives we choose to lead.
- Sophie Grimes, author of City Structures
These delicate, finely drawn portraits of families introduce us to a writer with a talent for haunting symbolism and closely observed scenes. As a reader, I knew I was in trustworthy hands as soon as I read the line "The fishmonger wrapped both fillets with great care, as if the fish were sleeping and he didn’t want to wake them."
- Jenna Le, author of Six Rivers