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Disoriental
2018
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In an intricately woven tapestry of Iranian history, politics, culture, family drama and triumph, 25-year-old Kimia Sadr, facing the future she has built for herself after leaving her family behind, is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors in the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic. Original. - (Baker & Taylor)

National Book Award Finalist: “A multigenerational epic of the Sadr family’s life in Iran and their eventual exile . . . Full of surprises” (The Globe and Mail).

Winner of the 2019 Albertine Prize and Lambda Literary Award Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself, as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them. It is Kimiâ herself—punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own “disorientalization”—who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel, recipient of numerous literary honors.

“Where initially Disoriental seems focused on Kimiâ’s father and his pro-democracy activism—first against the Shah, then the Ayatollah Khomeini—this is truly Kimiâ’s story of disorientation—national, familial and sexual—and finding herself again.”—The Globe and Mail

“A tour de force of storytelling . . . Djavadi deftly weaves together the history of 20th-century Iran [and] the spellbinding chronicle of her own ancestors. . . . Perfectly blends historical fact with contemporary themes.”—Library Journal

“Riveting . . . Djavadi is an immensely gifted storyteller, and Kimiâ’s tale is especially compelling.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A wonder and a pleasure to read.”—Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

WINNER 2019 ALBERTINE PRIZE

WINNER 2019 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD

FINALIST 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

FINALIST 2019 CLMP FIRECRACKER AWARD

FINALIST 2019 BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARD

WINNER LE PRIX DU ROMAN NEWS

WINNER STYLE PRIZE


WINNER 2016 LIRE BEST DEBUT NOVEL

WINNER LA PORTE DORÉE

PRIZE ONE OF THE GLOBE & MAIL’S BEST BOOKS OF 2018

- (Perseus Publishing)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* We meet Kimiâ in a fertility-clinic office. She is alone, waiting with a tube of sperm, for the chance to become a mother. She has already lied to the fertility-clinic staff about her intentions to marry the man whose sperm she carries, but the reason for her deception is not immediately clear. What is obvious from the beginning of this riveting novel is that Djavadi is an immensely gifted storyteller, and Kimiâ's tale is especially compelling. The winner of multiple awards in France, this debut novel in translation follows the fortunes of one Iranian family from the dawn of the twentieth century through the revolution and their Parisian exile. The youngest of three daughters, Kimiâ was still a child when her family fled Iran, crossing the Turkish border under cover of night. Her father, a journalist and political dissident who played a role in the start of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, fought the extremist regime with a passion that culminated in a tragedy the family can only refer to as THE EVENT. But the roots of their story go back much further, to her great-grandfather and the harem of wives he kept on his land near the Caspian Sea. Kimiâ unthreads the narratives of her family history, and the shaping of her own identity, with the insight and verve of a master storyteller. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

Kimia Sadr sits alone in a Parisian fertility clinic, a tube of scientifically modified sperm on her lap, waiting for the chronically late Dr. Gautier and the procedure that will unite her with her family's DNA chain. A wryly funny narrator, Kimia passes the time reflecting on her roots in Persia, beginning with her great-grandfather's court in Mazandaran and the day that twins were born to the last of his 52 wives. In a tour de force of storytelling, screenwriter and debut novelist Djavadi deftly weaves together the history of 20th-century Iran, from the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh, through the installation of the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, to the revolution and the harsh rule of the Ayatollah, with the spellbinding chronicle of her own ancestors. Kimia's father Darius and mother Sara, dissident writers whose work garners the attention of the security services, will be smuggled from their homeland to France, where they struggle with the disorientation of exile. Meanwhile, Kimia, questioning her sexuality and her place in the family, suffers her own form of disorientation. VERDICT Already the recipient of multiple prizes in France, this enchanting novel, well translated and with surprises and delights on every page, perfectly blends historical fact with contemporary themes.—Sally Bissell, formerly with Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

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