I read Nahid Rachlin’s Persian Girls: A Memoir in the dead of a Montana winter. The rush and glow of the holiday season had passed over us, and we were left with long, gray days and even longer, darker nights. So it was with much relief, and fascination, that I dove into this book, and let Rachlin’s words transport me to a world of warmth and sunshine, hot evenings spent sleeping on rooftops, meals of chicken and pomegranate sauce with saffron rice and Shirazi chopped salad.
I loved this world and found myself reading when I should have been working, or folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher. Like all the best books, it called to me even in my sleep. I dreamed about Maryam, and Nahid, and Pari. And even though I knew how the story ended, I had to keep reading. Such is the power of Rachlin’s storytellling.
Though it’s a memoir, I’d recommend Persian Girls for the same reasons I love novels like Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, or Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. The richness of the language and the descpriptions of the characters drew me into the story, and I never tire of contemplating themes such as love and loss, mother/daughter relationships, or examining what makes a life well-lived.
Persian Girls touches on issues that are frequently discussed by some of my favorite bloggers, too: the feelings Nahid has about her birth mother, which makes me think of Dawn at This Woman’s Work. Pari’s decision to leave her husband, all but ensuring that she’ll lose custody of her infant son, reminds me of Suzanne Kamata’s blog, Gaijin Mama, and in particular, her new novel, Losing Kei. I think of the culture of giving birth, and I make a connection to Kim Gutschow’s work and her blog, Buddhist Mama. And Nahid’s youngest sisters are twins, one born with developmental delays, which makes me think of my own babies.
All of these things are reasons to recommend this book: but perhaps my best endorsement is that I don’t want to keep it on my bookshelf. It’s a book that deserves to be read again and again, so that the pages become soft and worn. I want to share my copy with you–if you’re interested, leave your name in the comments and I’ll select a winner at random. And to read what other MotherTalk book bloggers are saying, go here.
AND WE HAVE A WINNER! It’s #1, Kristen of From here to there and back. Email me at jennifer (at) jennifergrafgroneberg (dot) com with your address and I’ll ship it off! Thanks for playing, everyone!