My Mother's Hidden Life
A poignant and beautifully written story of three generations of women, beginning in Iran nearly a century ago, for fans of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Wild Swans.
‘With this one word, Lili had finally understood many things: that no matter what she promised or sacrificed or gave, she would always be ‘broken’ to her daughter. That the pain of this would always be equal to her will not to feel anything. And, too, that there is a mercy in forgetting, and also in letting one’s self be forgotten.’
When Jasmin Darznik finds a photo among her father’s possessions shortly after his death, she recognises the child in the veil and bride’s clothes as her mother, but the groom is unfamiliar.
Who had her mother married all those years before? A few months later, packages begin to arrive – her mother, reluctant to talk face to face, sends Jasmin ten cassette tapes that year, and together those tapes reveal the secret history of Jasmin’s family. Gradually she learns the truth about the man her mother married when she was just a girl, and about the other daughter, the Good Daughter, who she had had to leave behind in Iran when Jasmin's family moved to the States.
As well as giving a fascinating insight into life in Iran, this is an unforgettable story of women's lives lived unknowingly in parallel, of secrets, lies, betrayal and exile, and of the insufferable mother-daughter bond.
Scotland on Sunday
“A beautifully recounted homage to her mother's life and struggles.”
“Richly detailed ... An eye-opening account that disturbs with its depiction of women in Iranian society, but warms the heart in its portrayal of their gritty endurance.”
“Deeply affecting...How can you not feel for these women? Once you read this book, you will see Iran and Iranians with new eyes. A brilliant debut.”
Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers
“'an astonishing tale of two cultures miles apart yet inextricably linked through the daughter or a woman who had the courage to stand up and be counted.'”