Review: ‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been’, Publishers’ Weekly, June 2006

http://noamchen.com/shop/page/2/ Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Persis M. Karim
Foreword by Al Young
Publish date: May 2006

'Let Me Tell You Where I've Been' · Publishers' Weekly Review

‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been’ · Publishers’ Weekly Review

from Dinājpur Publishers’ Weekly
The diversity of voices represented in this stunning collection of poetry, fiction and nonfiction by women of Iranian descent shatters their narrow image in the U.S. Though none are well known, most of the 53 authors live in the U.S. and 15 have been published in journals if not books. One writes about a woman’s relationship with her chador. Another remembers her desire, as a young girl, to distance herself from the “old-world values” espoused by her parents. A woman who sought refuge in Germany conveys the longing she felt to return to her birthplace by detailing a market scene and how the taste of raw walnuts made her feel at home again. Like other émigrés, the women who fled Iran after the 1979 revolution have continued to feel strong ties with their homeland. Many of those now living in the U.S., Canada or the U.K. have grappled with such feelings in an era when cars in the U.S. were emblazoned with bumper stickers reading “Iranians Go Home” and “We Play Cowboys and Iranians.” Though many contributions avoid politics, several writers illustrate heartbreaking incidents of stereotyping that reveal the struggle of facing pervasive social suspicion. Touching on universal themes of love and loss, exile and longing, politics and war, this collection derives its cumulative power from its authors’ subtle, uniquely female perceptions. (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review: ‘Touba and the Meaning of Night’, Publishers’ Weekly, May 2006

buy generic priligy online Touba and the Meaning of Night
by Shahrnush Parsipur
Biography by Persis Karim
Publish date: May 2006

from Publishers’ Weekly
Starred Review. Eighty dramatic years in Iran—from the turn of the 20th-century to the 1979 revolution—are witnessed through Touba’s chador-covered eyes in this bold, insightful novel, Parsipur’s second to be translated into English. After her farther dies when she’s 14, Touba—smart and spiritual, but barely educated—proposes, for financial reasons, to a 52-year-old man. Miserably depressed, she divorces him a few years later, and marries a Qajar prince; it is a loving relationship, but when he takes a second wife, she divorces him, too. Alone and impoverished as the prince’s dynasty is displaced, she weaves carpets to make money, cares for her children and communes with a dead girl’s ghost that haunts her property. As Touba grows older, she seeks truth with a Sufi master, but the demands of her crumbling household intervene. Initially published in Iran in 1989, this ground-breaking novel—which juxtaposes reality and mysticism, becoming especially fantastical toward the book’s conclusion—was quickly banned by the Islamic Republic, which had imprisoned Parsipur before and did so again. Her 11 novels remain banned in Iran. Now an exile in San Francisco, Parsipur makes a stylishly original contribution to modern feminist literature. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Review: ‘Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran’, Library Journal, 1999

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
by Shahrnush Parsipur
Afterword by Persis M. Karim
Publish date: February 2004

from Library Journal
Parsipur here synthesizes the voices of five women in contemporary Iran. Women without men–a prostitute, two unmarried women, a housewife, and a teacher–they all face serious oppression largely because of gender discrimination, cultural traditions, and notions of virginity and women’s sexuality. They also seek and find freedom and some solace in the same garden. This garden, located in Karaj, near Tehran, becomes their utopia; the teacher Mahdokht becomes so distraught that she decides to plant herself like a tree in the garden and thus escape reality. Not Parsipur’s first work of fiction on women in Iranian society, this novel often reads like a fairy tale, but it launches a strong statement about gender relations in Parsipur’s home country. Parsipur currently lives in the United States. Recommended for fiction collections. Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Libs., Eugene
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review: ‘A World Between’, Library Journal, 1999

A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans
Edited by Persis M. Karim and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami
Publish date: April 1999


from Library Journal

While many themes in this collection echo typical immigrant experiences, most of the contributions offer unusual glimpses into a lesser-known and often stereotyped ethnic group. The majority of the more than one million Iranian Americans left their homeland after the 1979 events that brought down the Shah and ushered in a new fundamentalist order. This anthology includes stories, essays, and poems by more than 30 first- and second-generation Iranian Americans, set against the backdrop of the Islamic revolution in Iran and refugee life in America. Charming and deeply personal, the writings often reflect on the pain of alienation and cultural struggle. The diversity of the contributors is noteworthy, ranging from 14-year-old Sharif, whose poem “My Father’s Shoes” describes the pain of exile, to Persian poet and New York University professor Mohammad Khorrami. This first-ever collection of writings in English by Iranian American literary talents is highly recommended for most libraries.AAli Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review: ‘A World Between’, Publishers’ Weekly, 1999

A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans
Edited by Persis M. Karim and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami
Publish date: April 1999

from Publishers’ Weekly
The 1979 Iranian revolution catalyzed the migration of more than one million Iranians to the U.S. The writings of the first generation of immigrants reveal their common “sense of alienation and ‘in-betweenness,’ ” according to editor Khorrami. The result is that an impression of bleaknessAeven bitternessAand mourning pervades this collection of original poems, short stories and transcripts of videotaped interviews with Iranian-American students conducted at UC-Berkeley. Zara Houshmand’s poem “I Pass” exposes the universal dilemma of the outsider: “I hold the cards close to my chest;/ I bluff./ You call./ I pass.” Likewise, Laleh Khalili’s poem “Defeated” recounts how many immigrants “slowly unlearned [their] ancestry” and “lost” themselves. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet’s story “Martyrdom Street” describes a woman coming back to consciousness after an Iraqi bombing of an Iranian post office, next to “a man’s dismembered hand, beautiful with long artistic fingers, capable of painting masterpieces or composing epics.” This woman “survives,” but loses the use of her own left hand and watches helplessly as her marriage becomes a casualty of war. Though too bleak to be read in one sitting, these stories and poems are eloquent testimony to the eminent desirability of peace.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review: ‘Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran’, Publishers’ Weekly, 1998

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
by Shahrnush Parsipur
Afterword by Persis M. Karim
Publish date: February 2004

from Publishers’ Weekly
Using the techniques of both the fabulist and the polemicist, Paripur (Prison Memoirs) continues her protest against traditional Persian gender relations in this charming yet powerful novella. Imprisoned once for her dissident views, Paripur, a native of Iran, offers her five characters the opportunity to escape the relationships and mores that constrain them. All of the characters are led to the same metaphorical magic garden, a transcendent, timeless place where they are free to decide their fates. In most instances, this amounts to a rejection of men and marriage. Like Ovid’s Daphne, Mahdokht transforms herself into a tree in order to prevent the shameful loss of her virginity. Munis, a 38-year-old virgin, is attacked and killed by her brother for refusing to obey him. She rises from the dead a psychic, heads for the garden and is raped along the way. Farrokhlaqa, a wealthy matron, accidentally kills her oppressive husband of 32 years. She then buys the magical garden where the women congregate. Only Zarrinkolah, the prostitute, discovers wedded bliss when she marries the “good gardener.” The voices of the five separate narrators–delicately connected by plot and circumstance–give us variations on the theme of the mistreatment of women in contemporary Iran.
Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.