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

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

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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
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