From Publishers Weekly
These 10 stories by Rachlin ( Foreigner ) track unhappy Iranians who reside in their native country or live as expatriates in America. In "Fanatics," Manijeh, who feels she has escaped from a dangerously sexist society to an American university where some students are restless and depressed, learns that her best friend in Teheran has died in a suicide attack on the Ministry of Education. In Iran, the protagonists of "The Poet's Visit," two schoolgirls, become rivals for the attentions of a famous writer, and a girl in "Rahbar" wonders if her aunt's estranged husband is a murderer. The eponymous protagonist of "Fatemeh" tries to get her son exempted from the Iranian army, where he is likely to die a martyr's death, and searches for her daughter, who years before vanished with her abusive ex-husband. An American law student in "Forces of Attraction" is puzzled by the behavior of her new boyfriend, an Iranian doctor practicing in Manhattan, who is alternately attentive and remote and depressed. Although flatly executed and underdeveloped, the stories will interest some readers for the authentic glimpses they offer of a foreign, often closed society.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Nahid Rachlin highlights the details of the everyday life of Iranians and people whose paths have crossed with Iranians. The commonalities of life, wherever it's lived, shine through in these tales of family, friendship, love, and war, offering perspectives on how cultural influences create different expectations of life. The characters and narrators of these stories include young teenagers, single and remarried women, mothers who don't want to lose their sons to wars, and older women, widowed and wise, still learning from life. "The Calling" tells of Mohtaram, a widow who moved to the United States to be near her children, and Narghes, her sister who is finally visiting from Iran. With this visit Mohtaram sees her life through her sister's eyes and comes to unexpected decisions: "Memories hit her again, more strongly and vividly in the dark...She wished she could break out of the prison of this new self, and be reborn into the old one." These are rarely stories of great hope or laughter; the pain in them is palpable and universal. They are stories of strength and endurance that continually remind us how fragile our outer shell can be, how deep love can be felt, and how strong the influence of home is, wherever home may be. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14
. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith