Tagged with iran
Did you know it's easier to be transsexual in Iran than homosexual? According to the novel and Wikipedia, the only country in the world that does more sex reassigngment surgeries than Iran is Thailand, and many of the surgeries are subsidized by the government. Being born the wrong gender is an ailment, being queer is a sinful aberration. So that's what our heroine Sahar is dealing with as her best friend, who she has wanted to marry since the girls were six years old, gets engaged to a dude.
In novelist Rachlin's autobiography, she tells of her life through high school in Iran (1950s and 60s) and then of her building a new life in the United States. In the beginning I was afraid I wouldn't get through it because the early parts are so tinged with anger and resentment, even at family members she later forgives. At the age of nine she is stolen by her father from the childless aunt who was raising her in Tehran and brought to live with her birth family in far away Ahvaz. There she finds indifference from her mother, jealousy from one sister, and love from another. Her father, perhaps just because that's how it was in Iran, exercises near total control of her life. All she wants is to escape an arranged marriage, like those that oppress her sisters, and the chance to learn and write, in America. By the time she lands at a small women's college near St. Louis, the writing becomes less heavy-handed. She survives four troubled years there and graduates before escaping to New York City where she finds shelter at a Judson Church housing community and does graduate studies in psychology at the New School.