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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, with a new life and the prospect of a child, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which reach 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.
In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet 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.
From the translator . . . “Djavadi has given us a broad-ranging, far-reaching portrait of the human condition in all its agony and ecstasy, but she has told it through the lives and perspectives of a family we might easily imagine having over for an evening of dinner and board games. I love the Sadrs as if they were real people . . . Translating Disoriental has been one of the greatest honors of my professional life. The genius of this story is that it acknowledges and celebrates what makes us different while, at its heart, painting in exquisite detail what binds us. I don’t think it’s too much to say that, if enough people read Disoriental the world might actually become a better place.”—Tina Kover
“Disoriental is a novel that will take your breath away, a lovely hymn to freedom, to free thought, to love, and to life.”—France Inter
“If the history of Iran had to be contained in a book, that book would be Disoriental . . . Astonishing, disorderly, extraordinary, and enjoyable.” —Le Devoir
“A sweeping political, historical, and personal fresco.”—Le Carnet à spirales
Négar Djavadi was born in Iran in 1969 to a family of intellectuals opposed to the regimes both of the Shah, then of Khomeini. She arrived in France at the age of eleven, having crossed the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister. She is a screenwriter and lives in Paris. Disoriental is her first novel.