My favorite novel of 2018. Négar Djavadi's debut novel, flawlessly translated by TIna Kover, was a finalist for the first ever National Book Award for translated literature, and winner of several prestigious French prizes. The story begins with the narrator sitting in the waiting room of a Paris fertility clinic, and as she starts telling us why she's there, she realizes she has to go back to the beginning - late Ottoman-era Persia. It's a page-turner that could somehow be 200 pages longer, but manages to be a unique coming of age story, a political thiller, a family saga, and a whirlwind through Iranian history with cheekily informative footnotes. Kimia, the narrator, has a blazingly clear voice that still rings in my head half a year after reading it.— Helen
Shortlisted for the 2018 National Book Awards
One of The Globe & Mail's Best Books of 2018
WINNER: Le Prix du Roman News, Style Prize, Lire Best Debut Novel 2016, la Porte Dor e PrizeKimi Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimi is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them. In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet it is Kimi herself--punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own "disorientalization"--who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel.