NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Finalist for the PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Audie Award in Biography/Memoir This Random House Reader’s Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner! “Remarkable . . . told with wry humor shorn of sentimentality . . . In the end, what sticks with the reader is an exuberant immigrant embrace of America.”—San Francisco Chronicle In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi). Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent. Praise for Funny in Farsi “Heartfelt and hilarious—in any language.”—Glamour “A joyful success.”—Newsday “What’s charming beyond the humor of this memoir is that it remains affectionate even in the weakest, most tenuous moments for the culture. It’s the brilliance of true sophistication at work.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review “Often hilarious, always interesting . . . Like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this book describes with humor the intersection and overlapping of two cultures.”—The Providence Journal “A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love—of family, country, and heritage.”—Jimmy Carter “Delightfully refreshing.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “[Funny in Farsi] brings us closer to discovering what it means to be an American.”—San Jose Mercury News From the Trade Paperback edition.
An autobiography of growing up as an Iranian-American describes the author's family's 1971 move from Iran to Southern California, the members of her diverse family, and their struggle with culture shock.
The author continues the story of her Iranian-American family and their experiences at home and abroad, from dealing with her French husband's Christmas traditions to taking fifty-one Iranian family members on a cruise to Alaska.
A young Iranian-American journalist returns to Tehran and discovers not only the oppressive and decadent life of her Iranian counterparts who have grown up since the revolution, but the pain of searching for a homeland that may not exist.
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.
“A funny, insightful memoir” (Kirkus Reviews) about growing up Iranian in America, and the quest to make it as an actor in Hollywood without having to wear a turban, tote a bomb, or get kicked in the face by Chuck Norris. After he emigrated with his family to the US during the Iranian Revolution, Maz Jobrani spent most of his youth trying to fit in with his adopted culture—learning to play baseball and religiously watching Dallas. But none of his attempts at assimilation made a difference to casting directors, who only auditioned him for the role of kebab-eating, bomb-toting, extremist psychopath. When he first started out in show business, Maz endured suggestions that he spice up his stand-up act by wearing “the outfit,” fielded questions about rising gas prices, and was jeered for his supposed involvement in the Iran hostage crisis. In fact, these things happened so often that he began to wonder: Could I be a terrorist without even knowing it? And when all he seemed to be offered were roles that required looking menacingly Arabic, he wondered if he would ever make it in America. This laugh-out-loud memoir chronicles a lifetime of both killing it and bombing on stage, with “plenty to say about matters of race, assimilation, embarrassing family members, life in America for brown-skinned people before and after 9/11, the vagaries of international pop culture, and making it in big, dumb, fizzy, sometimes beautiful America” (The New York Times).
""Donia Bijan discovers a way back to home and what it means to belong. A memoir both universal and intimate, anchored in history and lifted by the mysterious elements that only occur in a warm and inviting kitchen." --Marsha Mehran, author Pomegranate Soup. For Donia Bijan's family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic Revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan's mother's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose unwavering love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams. From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France's three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream). An exhilarating, heartfelt memoir, Maman's Homesick Pie is also a reminder of the women who encourage us to shine"--
It's 1977 and life in Iran is becoming unpredictable. The Shah will be overthrown and events are about to take place on the world stage. But for five-year-old Shappi Khorsandi all this means is that she must flee, leaving behind a mad extended Iran clan and everything she has ever known. Shappi and her beloved brother Peyvand arrive with their parents in London - all cold weather and strange food - without a word of English. If adapting to a new culture isn't troubling enough, it soon becomes clear that the Ayatollah's henchmen are in pursuit. With the help of MI5, Shappi's family go into hiding. So apart from checking under the family car for bombs every morning, Shappi's childhood is like any other kids' - swings in the park, school plays, kiss-chase and terrorists. 'An extraordinary story...really funny and warm' Graham Norton
In the house of the mosque, the family of Aqa Jaan has lived for eight centuries. Now it is occupied by three cousins: Aqa Jaan, a merchant and head of the city's bazaar; Alsaberi, the imam of the mosque and Aqa Shoja, the mosque's muezzin. The house itself teems with life, as each of their families grows up with their own triumphs and tragedies. Sadiq is waiting for a suitor to knock at the door to ask for her hand, while her two grandmothers sweep the floors each morning dreaming of travelling to Mecca. Meanwhile Shahbal longs only to get hold of a television to watch the first moon landing. All these daily dramas are played out under the watchful eyes of the storks that nest on the minarets above. But this family will experience upheaval unknown to previous generations. For in Iran, political unrest is brewing. The shah is losing his hold on power; the ayatollah incites rebellion from his exile in France; and one day the ayatollah returns. The consequences will be felt in every corner of Aqa Jaan's family.
In this searing memoir, Rahimeh Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, avenged by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. Her journey, eloquently and intimately told, is a tribute to the resilience of families everywhere. Andalibian takes us first into her family's tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity in Mashhad. Iran, where she and her brothers grow up in luxury at the Rose Hotel, owned by her father. In the aftermath of hte 1979 revolution the family is forced to flee: first to the safety of a mansion in Tehran, next to a squalid one-room flat in London, and finally to California, where they discover they are not free from the weight of their own secrets. Caught between their parents' traditional values and their desire to embrace and American way of life, Andalibian and her brothers struggle to find peace in the wake of tragedy. In the tradition of The Kite Runner, House of Sand and Fog, and Reading Lolita in Tehran, this is a universal story of healing and rebirth. From the Trade Paperback edition.
At a time when surveys reveal that Americans know less and less about our past, Tony Williams provides entertaining and informative descriptions of 50 of the most important and dramatic events from the colonial and Revolutionary period—some known and some forgotten—from the Mayflower Compact to the Annapolis Convention. Published in association with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, America's Beginnings takes the reader throughout the American colonies and introduces many leading figures, from John Smith and John Winthrop to the Founding Fathers. Along the way, Williams examines the principles that led colonists to come to America and succeeding generations to become a free and independent nation. Read individually or from cover to cover, these stories illuminate the founding principles and heroic struggles that established the country and shaped the American character.
We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense. Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice. From the Hardcover edition.
My Prison, My Home is the harrowing true story of Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari’s arrest on false charges and subsequent incarceration in Evin Prison, the most notorious penitentiary in Ahmadinejad’s Iran. Esfandiari’s riveting, deeply personal, and illuminating first-person account of her ordeal is the inspiring tale of one woman’s triumph over interrogation, intimidation, and fear. Offering a shocking, close-up view inside the paranoid mindset of the repressive Ahmadinejad regime, My Prison, My Home sheds light on a high-stakes international incident that sparked protests from some of the world’s most influential public figures—including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright
The hilarious, poignant, and true story of one teens's experience growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East, perfect for fans of Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham's books. At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn't learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn't because she didn't have a Social Security number. Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn't keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend. Americanized follows Sara's progress toward getting her green card, but that's only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-"American" teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother's green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots gracefully from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear. “Very funny but never flippant, Saedi mixes ‘90s pop culture references, adolescent angst and Iranian history into an intimate, informative narrative that thoroughly defies current divisive view on immigration.”--The New York Times "With gumption, Saedi draws from her American-ness and Iranian-ness for a successful depiction of immigrant life in the U.S.: a must-read."--Kirkus, starred review "[Saedi's] encouraging advice for undocumented immigrants is invaluable, honest, and heartfelt. This irresistible and timely memoir is hard to put down."--Booklist, starred review "[Saedi's] chatty and comic voice offers surprisingly effective irony in the exploration of her life as an undocumented kid. This is an encounter with a family that many readers will understand and others will long to be a part of, and it may inspire them to reconsider and chronicle their own family tales."--The Bulletin, starred review "Readers will laugh, cry, and empathize with Saedi's adolescent journey as an undocumented Iranian immigrant living in the United States. This book will keep readers fully entertained while pushing them to deeper cultural understandings."--SLJ, starred review
From Tony Hsieh to Amy Chua to Jeremy Lin, Chinese Americans are now arriving at the highest levels of American business, civic life, and culture. But what makes this story of immigrant ascent unique is that Chinese Americans are emerging at just the same moment when China has emerged - and indeed may displace America - at the center of the global scene. What does it mean to be Chinese American in this moment? And how does exploring that question alter our notions of just what an American is and will be? In many ways, Chinese Americans today are exemplars of the American Dream: during a crowded century and a half, this community has gone from indentured servitude, second-class status and outright exclusion to economic and social integration and achievement. But this narrative obscures too much: the Chinese Americans still left behind, the erosion of the American Dream in general, the emergence—perhaps—of a Chinese Dream, and how other Americans will look at their countrymen of Chinese descent if China and America ever become adversaries. As Chinese Americans reconcile competing beliefs about what constitutes success, virtue, power, and purpose, they hold a mirror up to their country in a time of deep flux. In searching, often personal essays that range from the meaning of Confucius to the role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution to why he hates the hyphen in "Chinese-American," Eric Liu pieces together a sense of the Chinese American identity in these auspicious years for both countries. He considers his own public career in American media and government; his daughter's efforts to hold and release aspects of her Chinese inheritance; and the still-recent history that made anyone Chinese in America seem foreign and disloyal until proven otherwise. Provocative, often playful but always thoughtful, Liu breaks down his vast subject into bite-sized chunks, along the way providing insights into universal matters: identity, nationalism, family, and more.
The moving, inspiring memoir of one of the great women of our times, Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and advocate for the oppressed, whose spirit has remained strong in the face of political persecution and despite the challenges she has faced raising a family while pursuing her work. Best known in this country as the lawyer working tirelessly on behalf of Canadian photojournalist, Zara Kazemi – raped, tortured and murdered in Iran – Dr. Ebadi offers us a vivid picture of the struggles of one woman against the system. The book movingly chronicles her childhood in a loving, untraditional family, her upbringing before the Revolution in 1979 that toppled the Shah, her marriage and her religious faith, as well as her life as a mother and lawyer battling an oppressive regime in the courts while bringing up her girls at home. Outspoken, controversial, Shirin Ebadi is one of the most fascinating women today. She rose quickly to become the first female judge in the country; but when the religious authorities declared women unfit to serve as judges she was demoted to clerk in the courtroom she had once presided over. She eventually fought her way back as a human rights lawyer, defending women and children in politically charged cases that most lawyers were afraid to represent. She has been arrested and been the target of assassination, but through it all has spoken out with quiet bravery on behalf of the victims of injustice and discrimination and become a powerful voice for change, almost universally embraced as a hero. Her memoir is a gripping story – a must-read for anyone interested in Zara Kazemi’s case, in the life of a remarkable woman, or in understanding the political and religious upheaval in our world. From the Hardcover edition.
In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life. "Anita Amirrezvani has written a sensuous and transporting first novel filled with the colors, tastes and fragrances of life in seventeenth-century Isfahan...Amirrezvani clearly knows and loves the ways of old Iran, and brings them to life with the cadences of a skilled story-spinner." -- Geraldine Brooks, author of March "An engrossing, enthralling tale of a girl's quest for self-determination in the fascinating other world that was seventeenth-century Iran." -- Emma Donoghue, author of Touchy Subjects and Life Mask
A memoir offers a portrait of the author's family and childhood in Iran, centered around her powerful mother and her manipulative fictions about herself, as she reflects on women's choices and her own struggle to free herself from her mother's influence.
Raised amidst the confines of Iranian society, young Tamila Soroush escapes the oppression of Iran for the freedom of America, enjoying her everyday acts of rebellion against her background and capturing her new life through the lens of her camera, all the while searching for a husband who can prevent her return home. Original.