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A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans Paperback – May 17, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0807614457 ISBN-10: 0807614459 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: George Braziller Inc.; 1 edition (May 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807614459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807614457
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 1979 Iranian revolution catalyzed the migration of more than one million Iranians to the U.S. The writings of the first generation of immigrants reveal their common "sense of alienation and 'in-betweenness,' " according to editor Khorrami. The result is that an impression of bleaknessAeven bitternessAand mourning pervades this collection of original poems, short stories and transcripts of videotaped interviews with Iranian-American students conducted at UC-Berkeley. Zara Houshmand's poem "I Pass" exposes the universal dilemma of the outsider: "I hold the cards close to my chest;/ I bluff./ You call./ I pass." Likewise, Laleh Khalili's poem "Defeated" recounts how many immigrants "slowly unlearned [their] ancestry" and "lost" themselves. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet's story "Martyrdom Street" describes a woman coming back to consciousness after an Iraqi bombing of an Iranian post office, next to "a man's dismembered hand, beautiful with long artistic fingers, capable of painting masterpieces or composing epics." This woman "survives," but loses the use of her own left hand and watches helplessly as her marriage becomes a casualty of war. Though too bleak to be read in one sitting, these stories and poems are eloquent testimony to the eminent desirability of peace.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

While many themes in this collection echo typical immigrant experiences, most of the contributions offer unusual glimpses into a lesser-known and often stereotyped ethnic group. The majority of the more than one million Iranian Americans left their homeland after the 1979 events that brought down the Shah and ushered in a new fundamentalist order. This anthology includes stories, essays, and poems by more than 30 first- and second-generation Iranian Americans, set against the backdrop of the Islamic revolution in Iran and refugee life in America. Charming and deeply personal, the writings often reflect on the pain of alienation and cultural struggle. The diversity of the contributors is noteworthy, ranging from 14-year-old Sharif, whose poem "My Father's Shoes" describes the pain of exile, to Persian poet and New York University professor Mohammad Khorrami. This first-ever collection of writings in English by Iranian American literary talents is highly recommended for most libraries.AAli Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Persis M. Karim was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area to an Iranian father and French mother. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous national and local publications including Callalloo, Caesura, HeartLodge, Split this Rock, and The Pedestal. She is co editor of Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers (2013), contributing poet and editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2006) and co editor of A World Between: Poems, Short Stories and Essays by Iranian Americans (1999).She has written numerous essays about literature and culture of the Iranian diaspora for academic journals such as Iranian Studies, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She received her master's degree in Middle East Studies and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University of Texas at Austin. She teaches literature and creative writing at San Jose State University in California. She can be reached at: persis.karim@sjsu.edu.

Customer Reviews

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This anthology is long overdue and offers an important look at the experiences of Iranians on the North American continent during the past two decades. This powerful and subtle collection offers both a literary and sociologically-based (without appearing either academic or polemical) account and understanding of this relatively new ethnic group. The poems, short stories, and essays pay tribute to the experiences of loss and longing, but also offering a more positive view of Iran and Iranian people--that finally challenges the long-held views of the media that depict Iranians as fanatical and without self-reflection. "A World Between" can and must be read with its historical context in mind. It is not simply a bleak vision of those who left and are in exile, but of those who struggle to reconcile both American and Iranian culture and to bring them into dialogue. The book initiates a new literary culture, but further elucidates for Americans the sometimes painful and irreconciable realities of history, migration, and assimilation. A must-read! And what a cover! Gorgeous!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on March 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
"A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans," edited by Persis M. Karim and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami, is an excellent anthology which greatly enriches the world of ethnic American literature. The pieces in this collection deal with many issues: language, biculturalism and the anxieties of assimilation, family ties, male-female relationships, Islamic fundamentalism, the role of Zoroastrians as a religious minority, war and its aftermath, etc. Although many such issues are specific to Iranian-Americans, others are universal to all "ethnic" Americans. The stories take place in both Iran and the United States, and one even takes place in France.
Some of my favorite pieces in this book include the following: "Made You Mine, America," Ali Zarrin's joyful poem which invokes both Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes; Mariam Salari's humorous short-short story "Ed McMahon Is Iranian"; Ramin M. Tabib's story "Tuesdays," about two Iranian-Americans in the L.A. club scene; Nazanin Sioshansi's essay "The Suffocating Sense of Injustice," about Zoroastrians in Iran; and Siamak Namazi's fascinating essay "Finding Peace in the Iranian Army," about an Iranian citizen who returns to fulfill his military obligation after living in the United States.
"A World Between" really opened my eyes to some of the pain and beauty of the world(s) of Iranian-Americans. This anthology would be ideal both for classroom use and individual reading. For a fascinating complementary text, try "Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings," edited by Roberto Santiago.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When searching for a book- for my cultural anthropology class, I found this incredible and extraordinary book. I am Mexican, and my boyfriend is Iranian. Hence, sometimes it was difficult to comprehend many things about his culture, but this book really helped me to understand and appreciate Iranian culture. He is more American than Iranian, but he has faced the ongoing negotiation between his past and present, his native home and his adopted home I will recommend this book to anyone who is interested in achieving a personal enrichment and wants to see our modern world with different eyes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am 1st generation American. I grew up drinking tea and hearing the stories of Ferdowsi but it didn't seem to capture me completely into my father's culture.
When I came across this book, I fell in love with my culture! I understand so much more of my father's past, his sorrows, his joys, and his beliefs. I also learned more about myself.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Iranian culture!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The poetry, short stories, and essays are presented in a knock-out, gorgeous cover and poignantly give voice to a new generation of those among the United State's later-burgeoning ethnic groups. This work is to be celebrated as an important contribution to the body of work chronicling the American immigrant experience and the identity struggles of those immigrants and their progeny.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Iranian-American community has had extraordinary stories to tell since long before the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but those stories never really became public and Iranians often seemed the most invisible of new Americans. The generation of writers represented in this anthology, which has come of age since the revolution, is changing that. They are not just aware of themselves as writers with a new vision but also as observers of themselves with a palpable need to forge a public identity. The points of view collected in A World Between are by turns confessional, lyrical, Whitmanesque, anecdotal, and Proustian, and they are haunted by a common project of recording a senstibility that simply has not existed on paper before."
---Michael Beard, Professor of English, University of North Dakota and author of Hedayat's Blind Owl as a Western Novel
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By A Customer on April 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"The Iranian-American community has had extraordinary stories to tell since long before the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but those stories never really became public and Iranians often seemed the most invisible of new Americans. The generation of writers represented in this anthology, which has come of age since the revolution, is changing that. They are not just aware of themselves as writers with a new vision but also as observers of themselves with a palpable need to forge a public identity. The points of view collected in A World Between are by turns confessional, lyrical, Whitmanesque, anecdotal, and Proustian, and they are haunted by a common project of recording a senstibility that simply has not existed on paper before."
---Michael Beard, Professor of English, University of North Dakota and author of Hedayat's Blind Owl as a Western Novel
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