Women of Deh Koh

Erika Friedl, Author Smithsonian Books $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87474-403-3
This fascinating collection lifts their concealing veils to bring us face to face with the women of a contemporary Iranian mountain village. Their situations are primitive and oppressive by Western standards, but the author, an anthropologist who has lived a number of years in Iran, lets the women speak through her deft pen, capturing their voices in tales of domestic power politics, childbearing, barrenness, marriage, old age. Like the relationships in this village of gossipy, intermarried and extended families, the 12 stories are interconnected, revealing a pungent, incisive view of women's society as a whole, and multifaceted portraits of some memorable individuals: Perijan, who was so embarrassed at being pregnant at a relatively advanced age that she hid her condition until after she gave birth; tough, elderly Maryam who, upon being widowed, braved the trials and controversy of remaining on her own land rather than accept a subordinate position in the household of one of her married brothers. Always denied a place in the public arena (even more so in the past decade since the revolution) the women of Deh Koh shape and control the home sphere--an area that these sagacious tales vivify with respect and integrity. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-14-014993-7
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