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
WINNER 2019 ALBERTINE PRIZE
WINNER 2019 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
FINALIST 2019 CLMP FIRECRACKER AWARD
FINALIST 2019 BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARD
WINNER LE PRIX DU ROMAN NEWS
WINNER STYLE PRIZE
WINNER 2016 LIRE BEST DEBUT NOVEL
WINNER LA PORTE DOR E PRIZE
ONE OF THE GLOBE & MAIL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018
In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph.
Kimi 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.
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.