Iranian writer Simin Daneshvar, who authored the best-selling 1969 novel "Savushun," died in Tehran at the age of 90, her family confirmed.
Daneshvar had been stricken with influenza and died March 5.
The New York Times Saturday called Daneshvar the "most potent surviving symbol of the vibrancy of 20th-century literature in Iran."
Daneshvar used the British occupation of oil-rich Iran during World War II as the backdrop for "Savushun," which detailed a family in which one brother cooperates with the authorities and another who resists. The Times said the book was a defining watershed in which Iran began to look at itself as a proud and independent nation rather than a colonized territory.
"Despite the fact that she lived with a massively egotistical public intellectual and in a deeply patriarchal society, Simin Daneshvar emerged as a luminary figure of the Persian literary scene entirely of her own making," Columbia University scholar Hamid Dabashi wrote.
Daneshvar earned a doctorate in literature from Tehran University and studied at Stanford.