Synopses & Reviews
A bestselling novel in Iran, despite being banned twice by the government, The Book of Fate
follows a teenage girl in pre-revolutionary Iran through five turbulent decades, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present in this powerful story of friendship, passion, and hope.
A teenager in pre-revolutionary Tehran, Massoumeh is an average girl, passionate about learning. On her way to school she meets a local man and falls in love, but when her family discover his letters they accuse her of bringing them dishonor. She is badly beaten by her brother, and her parents hastily arrange for her to marry to a man she's never met. Facing a life without love, and the prospect of no education, Massoumeh is distraught, but a female neighbor urges her to comply: We each have a destiny, and you cant fight yours.”
The years that follow Massoumeh's wedding prove transformative for Iran. Hamid, Massoumeh's husband, is a political dissident and a threat to the Shah's oppressive regime. When the secret service arrive to arrest him, it is the start of a terrifying period for Massoumeh. Her fate, so long dictated by family loyalty and tradition, is now tied to the changing fortunes of her country.
Spanning five turbulent decades of Iranian history, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present, The Book of Fate is a truly remarkable story and a rare insiders view of Iranian society.
"The Book of Fate is a gentle reminder to all of us that selflessness and loyalty to family are important as are moral values and goodness of heart. Sad as it is, it imparts lessons of gratitude for what is taken for granted and for appreciating the goodness that helps one steer through life's darkest periods. It is more an ode to women, not just of Iran but of societies all over the world, who have had to struggle to get their basic rights." Gulf News
"Saniee has successfully pursued the perennial theme of the potentially explosive interaction between the individual and society, as well as the consequences of discrimination, intolerance and extremism." The Sydney Morning Herald
"[T]his family saga shines a bright light on what it is like to live according [to] the expectations of family and society." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[The Book of Fate] thrusts open a window onto the tough choices in all women's lives." Toronto Star
"Domestic drama, social revolution, exotic setting and a strong female narrator — what more does a novel need?" Winnipeg Free Press
"[T]his engrossing story is difficult to put down at any juncture." Historical Novel Society
About the Author
Parinoush Saniee is a sociologist and psychologist. She worked for the Iranian government in the ministry of labour. She has written several novels, of which The Book of Fate
is the first; The Father of the Other One
, her second novel, has also been published to great acclaim in Iran; her other books are awaiting approval by the censorship board.
Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, and Kissing the Sword: A Prison Memoir by Shahrnush Parsipur. She has also translated several volumes of poetry by Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Siavash Kasraii, and Fereydoon Moshiri. Her translations of short stories by Shahriar Mandanipour have appeared in The Literary Review, The Kenyon Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, EPOCH, Words Without Borders, and PEN America. She lives and works in New York City.