Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinarily vivid look inside post-revolutionary Iran, Camelia is the memoir of Iranian journalist Camelia Entekhabi-Fard, who was sent to prison because of her bold coverage of current affairs for reformist newspapers.
Brandishing her unique gift as a storyteller and a wealth of fascinating detail about Iranian society and culture, she narrates her surreal experience growing up in the turmoil of the revolution and the Iran/Iraq war, punctuated by her comic disposition as a mischievous child and by the tragic losses of family members who fall victim to the political climate of fear, revenge, and extremism.
As a teenager, she is drawn to writing and poetry and awakens to a desire to play an active role in the intellectual life of her country. This path ultimately leads to her violent arrest. Faced with a harsh, violent daily existence and the uncertainty of survival, she is struck by the realization that only by convincing herself that she is in love with the chief interrogator does she have any hope of escape.
Thus unfolds a harrowing account of a morally and emotionally troubling relationship, during the course of which she is forced to betray her friends and family, to serve the Iranian government, and to give herself unconditionally to this powerful older man. Once out of prison, she must now escape from the clutches of this dangerous and demeaning relationship.
It is only after she successfully flees Iran that she can confront within herself what she has been through with her interrogator.
"Entekhabifard, an Iranian-born journalist now living in the U.S., opens her intriguing memoir on January 16, 1979, the day the Shah fled Tehran. She'd just turned six, so she didn't understand the tumult; she knew her parents preferred the Shah to Khomeini's mullahs, but neither of them discussed leaving Iran. She explains, how, instead, they adjusted. Mother and daughters observed hijab when necessary and, like others, learned not to attract the attention of the revolutionary guards. A poet, Entekhabifard took advantage of the Khatami regime's reformist climate to start work as a journalist. When political winds shifted, she was jailed for three months, where she cultivated a romantic attachment with her interrogator. His passion secured her release, but soon she realized she had to leave Iran, and him, and try a career in America. Rather than narrate her story chronologically (which would emphasize a repression-to-freedom theme), Entekhabifard intercuts accounts of various incidents, so that heavier stories like her romance with her interrogator emerge gradually. In the end, hers is a strangely disorienting account of that period." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An extraordinarily vivid look inside post-revolutionary Iran, this is the memoir of an Iranian journalist who was sent to prison because of her bold coverage of current affairs for reformist newspapers.
Camelia Entekhabifard was six years old in 1979 when the shah of Iran was overthrown by revolutionary supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini. By the age of sixteen, Camelia was a nationally celebrated poet, and at eighteen she was one of the youngest reformist journalists in Tehran. Just eight years later she was imprisoned, held in solitary confinement, and charged with breaching national security and challenging the authority of the Islamic regime. Camelia is both a story of growing up in post-revolutionary Tehran and a haunting reminder of the consequences of speaking the truth in a repressive society.
A breathtaking memoir of one daring young woman's journey to freedom in contemporary Iran
About the Author
CAMELIA ENTEKHABIFARD was born in Tehran in 1973. While in high school and university, she became active as an emerging poet and painter. She then turned to journalism, writing for a number of papers, including the leading reformist daily, Zan [Woman]. In 1999 she was arrested for her journalistic activities and spent three months in prison. Upon her release, she came to the United States as a student and political refugee. Since then, she has reported on Iranian and Afghan affairs for Associated Press, Reuters, Eurasia Net, the Village Voice, and Mother Jones. Currently, she spends much of her time reporting from Afghanistan.