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

Palma del Río 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.