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Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran by…

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran (1989)

by Shahrnush Parsipur

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1585110,725 (3.87)16



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Showing 4 of 4
Great little book following the lives of women in Iran as they face various male and societal pressures, all leaving and coming together in a garden, and experience their own rebirths in various ways. Plenty of plot interest alongside poetic writing, with a large enough dose of magical realism for the reader to pnder and lay their interpretation of events upon. Well worth the read. ( )
  rrmmff2000 | Aug 7, 2016 |
Parsipur was imprisoned for writing this book, which makes me want to give it five stars right off the bat, but I try to keep my ratings "honest" based on a combination of the writing itself and how it affects me. While Women Without Men is certain affecting and skillfully rendered, I can't help feeling that some of the nuances were lost on me, either by way of it being a translated work (no affront to the translator) or more likely, my lack of knowledge about Persian/Iranian culture. I'm certainly glad to have read it, though.

From the Author's Note (2011):

"Becoming a poet has become a common practice in Iran. People, without knowing anything about the rules of poetry, put words together abruptly and, using weird thoughts, believe they are creating poetry.

For example, 'Light's affection is running in electric wires,' or 'The scream coming to the surface of existence was violet in color,' or 'Earth's Red told the Blue of Presence: I don't like destiny.' And so on. Some of these poems are interesting, but they become ridiculous when, in order to cover their own illiteracy, some poets claim that the grammatical conventions in poetry are nonsense and have to be discarded altogether.

Is this desire to throw out the old the reason why millions of people poured into the streets and kicked the Shah out without understanding what could happen next? The new government turned on them and their loved ones, executing hundreds of thousands, even their own teenagers, who wanted to create a new government."

3.5 ( )
  mpho3 | Jan 25, 2015 |
An exquisite novela by an Iranian woman which combines the magic of Arabian Nights with the stories of five women who temporarily escape the rigid control of men to live together in a garden.

Shahrnush Parsipur is an Iranian woman, now living in exile in the United States. Her books are banned in Iran. She returned to Iran after the revolution of 1979, and like other women, she was appalled when the new government required women to return to wearing the veil. In 1989 she was jailed for the publication of this book, in part because she raised sexual issues that leaders wanted to keep hidden.

Read more on my blog: me, you and books
  mdbrady | Apr 15, 2012 |
About women in Iran whose lives do not follow the traditional expectation .
"i was married...he was being contentious with her. She pushed him and he accidentally fell downstairs and died. Then she was able to buy a house and a garden as she desired. Stories of a few other women who came to live with her are intertwined . According the the jacket, discussion of virginity, prostitution caused the book to be banned and the author exiled.
  goneal | Jun 4, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
The image of a mystical “garden” where freedom beckons dominates these alternately dour and playful tales, which carry their messages lightly, thanks to their author’s affectionate and engagingly robust humor.
added by Nickelini | editKirkus Reviews (May 20, 2010)
Using the techniques of both the fabulist and the polemicist, Paripur (Prison Memoirs) continues her protest against traditional Persian gender relations in this charming yet powerful novella.
added by Nickelini | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 30, 1998)
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The deep green garden, its walls plastered with mud and hay, faced the river, with the village behind it.
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A magic-realism novel on the lot of women in Iran whose heroines reject men and marriage. One woman turns herself into a tree in order to preserve her virginity, another is born anew after being killed by her brother for disobedience.

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