"Martyrdom Street is a luscious tapestry, a cozy quilt, made of the mosaics of lives and loves and fears and tribulations, told by and about Iranian women, with a voice at once poised and decorous and yet bursting with barely contained buds of sensuality. . . . Read this novel and feel at home in Iran of the twenty-first century. Iranian women speak here and the world will listen."—Hamid Dabashi, author of Iran: A People Interrupted
"Kashani-Sabet gathers together the scattered narratives of women’s lives in both Iran and the United States, and weaves them together in a story that says much about the ways women continually reinvent and remake themselves and gives voice to their resilient spirit. A wonderful debut."—Persis Karim, author of Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Set during the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran-Iraq War of 1980–88, the novel Martyrdom Street chronicles the lives of three Iranian women, Fatemeh, Nasrin, and Yasaman. These ordinary women tell their intimate stories of love, loss, betrayal, and hope in intertwining narratives that unfurl simultaneously in the United States and Iran. Kashani-Sabet’s characters endure both the familiar struggles of family relationships and the disorienting effects of searing political upheavals. A mother and daughter come to terms with the burdens of separation imposed by politics and exile. A young woman grapples with the haunting memories of an assassination. The poignant confessions of these skillfully wrought characters give voice to the travails of two generations of Iranians and Iranian Americans.
Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is associate professor of history and director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804–1946 and Conceiving Citizens: Women, Sexuality, and Religion in Modern Iran.