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Susanne Pari with Jasmin Darznik – In The Time of Our History
Susanne Pari photo courtesy of Irene Young
Author event: Set in SF & New Jersey…about the universal longing to create a home in this world
In conversation with Jasmin Darznik
Inspired by her own family’s experiences following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Susanne Pari explores the entangled lives within an Iranian American family grappling with generational culture clashes, the roles imposed on women, and a tragic accident that forces them to reconcile their guilt or forfeit their already tenuous bonds. Set between San Francisco and New Jersey in the late-1990’s, In The Time of Our History is a story about the universal longing to create a home in this world – and what happens when we let go of how we’ve always been told it should look.
Twelve months after her younger sister Anahita’s death, Mitra Jahani reluctantly returns to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey to observe the Iranian custom of “The One Year.” Ana is always in Mitra’s heart, though they chose very different paths. While Ana, sweet and dutiful, bowed to their domineering father’s demands and married, Mitra rebelled, and was banished.
Caught in the middle is their mother, Shireen, torn between her fierce love for her surviving daughter and her loyalty to her husband. Yet his callousness even amid shattering loss has compelled her to rethink her own decades of submission. And when Mitra is suddenly forced to confront hard truths about her sister’s life, and the secrets each of them hid to protect others, mother and daughter reach a new understanding—and forge an unexpected path forward.
Alive with the tensions, sacrifices, and joys that thrum within the heart of every family, In The Time of Our History is also laced with the richness of ancient and modern Persian culture and politics, in a tale that is both timeless and profoundly relevant.
Susanne Pari is an Iranian-American novelist, journalist, essayist, and book reviewer. Born in New Jersey to an Iranian father and an American mother, she grew up both in the United States and Iran until the 1979 Islamic Revolution forced her family into permanent exile.
Since then, her writing has focused on stories of displacement and belonging, of identity and assimilation, of trauma and resilience. Her first novel, The Fortune Catcher has been translated into six languages and her non-fiction writing has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, and Medium. A former Program Director for Book Expo, she is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, the Author’s Guild, the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, she serves on the board of the Lakota Children’s Enrichment Writing Project and is an alumna of the Hedgebrook Writing Residency. She blogs occasionally for the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and divides her time between Northern California and New York. Visit her online at SusannePari.com.
Jasmin Darznik is the New York Times bestselling author of three books, The Bohemians, Song of a Captive Bird, and The Good Daughter. She is an associate professor and chair of the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her forthcoming novel is American Goddess.
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