cover image My Part of Her

My Part of Her

Javad Djavahery, trans. from the French by Emma Ramadan. Restless, $17.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-632062-43-7

Djavahery’s mesmerizing English-language debut illustrates how betrayal can have far-reaching ramifications. Unfolding as the confessions of an unnamed narrator to a former prison cellmate, the events related take place during the idyllic summers of the narrator’s mid-1970s youth in Iran, ending with a coda set decades later. The narrator explains how, at 13, he parlayed his relationship with his beautiful 16-year-old cousin, Niloufar, into a role as her representative, meting out information about her in exchange for money and whiskey and, more importantly, for status within his circle of friends. He explains the heady, irresistible sense of empowerment and his eventual act of treachery, the stunning consequences of which are not revealed until the book’s conclusion. Against the backdrop of the final years of the Shah’s reign, Djavahery captures the innocence and hope embodied by young people on the verge of adulthood, the allure of the underground for burgeoning minds, and the rending apart of friends and family during the Islamic revolution in 1979. Driven by the narrator’s regretful voice, Djavahery’s excellent, gripping tale depicts misplaced, youthful ambition and the conflicts of changing social norms. (Feb.)