My Name Is Iran: A Memoir

Davar Ardalan, Author . Holt $24 (323p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7920-3

Ardalan, senior producer at NPR's Morning Edition , records in wooden bits and pieces the history of her Iranian family, both into and out of America. Ardalan (her given first name is Iran) is the granddaughter of an enterprising Bakhtiari tribesman who attended the American mission school in Tehran and graduated from Syracuse Medical School in 1926 at age 54; together with Ardalan's grandmother, an adventurous American nurse from Idaho, they moved to Iran to start both a hospital and a family of seven children. Ardalan, born in San Francisco in 1964, grew up largely in Iran (her father was a Kurdish architect, and her mother a writer and translator). In 1980 she returned to America, where she adopted her middle name to avoid censure, but three years later, in the most arresting segment of the memoir, Ardalan recounts her return to Tehran at age 18 to accept an arranged marriage and become a Shiite Muslim. Eventually she attended journalism school in New Mexico, endured two divorces and had four children over the years of building her career. While her prose is plain, Ardalan's testimony to the feminist spirit of the pioneering women in her family, and in the face of centuries-long strictures against the advancement of women, is a supreme achievement. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-0-8050-8727-7
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-2373-6
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