Disoriental by NĂ©gar Djavadi (tr. Tina Kover)

a nutshell: the novel is a spectacular back-and-forth of past / present, jotted down in the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic by an Iranian exile – daughter of dissidents – as she delineates deft & vital contours of family and self

a line: with the passage of time, the flesh of events decomposes, leaving only a skeleton of impressions on which to embroider”

an image: for me, the most memorable passage is the filling-in of the narrator’s earlier allusion to a well-meaning yet devastating whisper from her sister

a thought: Disoriental reads like an attempt to pluck out and discard one’s place card holder from within an all-consuming family as well as from countries of origin/residence – a thoughtful, often moving investigation of how to be an individual in stringent communities

a fact: Djavadi digs innumberable wells of fascinating Iranian history in the book’s footnotes, but one fact that stood out to me is that ‘Iran’ is the Persian word for ‘Land of Aryans’; the country was named as such by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1935

 

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