cover image In the Time of Our History

In the Time of Our History

Susanne Pari. Kensington/Scognamiglio, $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3926-1

In this luminous multigenerational tale, Pari (The Fortune Catcher) examines the complicated ties among an Iranian American family. After Mitra Jahani’s immigrant father refuses to let her younger sister Ana be the first one to get married, Mitra pretends to get engaged, then cancels at the last minute. She also has her tubes tied. As a result, her father disowns her and she moves from New Jersey to California, breaking their mother Shireen’s heart. Years later, Ana and her young children are killed in a car accident, and family secrets tumble out one after another, including Ana’s childhood molestation by an older cousin and Ana’s extramarital affair with an artist. Shireen, caught in the middle between her husband and daughter, finally takes a stand against her husband’s cruelty, perhaps changing her own destiny. Well-drawn supporting characters, including Sali, an Iraqi teenager who gets pregnant after being raped and is disowned by her mother; and Julian, Mitra’s supportive physician boyfriend, add depth. This expertly paced story easily navigates the cultural differences between newer Americans and older immigrants and provides a frank look at fraught family dynamics. For fans of sweeping family sagas, this is like catnip. (Jan.)