The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America

Rahimeh Andalibian. National Geographic, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4262-1479-0
This brave, beautifully written memoir, originally published as a novel in order to safeguard identities, is the story of a wealthy, young Iranian girl whose family is traumatized by events surrounding Iran’s 1979 revolution, and the subsequent fallout that caused the family decades of suffering. Andalibian’s family owned an upscale hotel near a revered pilgrimage site; her strictly religious father, Baba, forbade alcohol, unrelated couples, and music in the hotel. As the revolution loomed, a rape and a murder occurred, resulting in false accusations and the devastating arrest of Andalibian’s eldest brother, Abdollah. Kangaroo-court justice prevailed amid chaos and violence, leading to Abdollah’s imprisonment and the rest of the family’s eventual move to California. Tremendous hardship followed in America: Andalibian’s mother, Maman, became severely depressed; her loving but authoritarian father had crushing financial losses; and her brothers indulged in reckless teen rebellion, followed by substance abuse, addiction, and numerous failed marriages. Touching on family, faith, assimilation, grief, and closure, Andalibian writes movingly about using her training as a clinical psychologist to heal herself and her family, homing in on secrets carried from Iran as the root of her family’s complex trauma. She sharply addresses topics relating to religious and political repression, profiling, and childhood trauma, while skillfully crafting an insightful, passionate immigrant’s story with cross-cultural resonance. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 05/12/2015
Paperback - 410 pages - 978-0-615-67223-6
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4262-1480-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4262-1654-1
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