Note that he is variously called, in English, Ismāʻīl Faṣīḥ, Esmāʿil Faṣiḥ and Ismail Fasih. I shall use Esmail Fassih, as that is what he is called on the cover of his book in English. He was born in Tehran in 1935. His father was an illiterate grocery owner, who died when Esmail was three. He left Iran in 1956 and moved the United States, where he studied at the University of Montana in Missoula, studying chemistry and English. He married a Norwegian woman but she died soon after, in childbirth. He returned to Tehran and worked as a teacher with the Iranian Oil Company. After another spell in the United States where he took an M.A. in English literature, he again returned to Tehran to teach, at the Abadan Institute of Technology, where he remained till the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980. He spent the rest of his life writing until he died in 2009.