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A poignant and beautifully written story of three generations of Iranian women
Born in Tehran to an Iranian mother and German father, Jasmin Darznik is an award-winning writer whose essays, short stories, and book reviews have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Women's Review of Books and other publications.Her writing is shaped by her experience as a former attorney specializing in immigration and family law as well as her current scholarship in Iranian-American literature. A doctoral candidate in English Literature at Princeton University, she has been the recipient of a University Fellowship, and has written extensively on literature by Middle Eastern women in exile.
When Darznik (an English professor at Washington and Lee University) stumbles upon a photograph of her mother appareled and made up as a bride with a man not Darznik's father, she catches a glimpse into her mother's hidden Iranian history, a past that contains a former abusive husband and an abandoned daughter. Through cassette tapes made by her mother, Darznik recovers the lives of three generations of Iranians: her great-grandmother Pargol; her grandmother Kobra, whose marriage involves "countless separations, two divorces, and many more near divorces"; and her mother, Lili, in an account deeply enmeshed with other women's lives-aunts, mistresses, and in-laws. Darznik's telling veers closer to ethnography than memoir at times-courtship and marriage formalities, the complications of divorce for women, food preparation, household tasks, workplace details. Yet while the lives of Pargol, Kobra, and Lili are circumscribed by broad cultural strictures, each moves further toward unique individuality than her predecessor. Lili, married that first time at 13, does finish school, becomes a midwife, marries Jasmin's father (a German who converts to Islam to marry her), flees the Islamic revolution with her new family in 1979, makes a new life in the United States, and raises an American daughter. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Truly mesmerising" * Scotland on Sunday * "A beautifully recounted homage to her mother's life and struggles." * Booklist * "Richly detailed ... An eye-opening account that disturbs with its depiction of women in Iranian society, but warms the heart in its portrayal of their gritty endurance." * Kirkus * "Deeply affecting...How can you not feel for these women? Once you read this book, you will see Iran and Iranians with new eyes. A brilliant debut." -- Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers "'an astonishing tale of two cultures miles apart yet inextricably linked through the daughter or a woman who had the courage to stand up and be counted.'" * Resident *