Do Not Use Disoriental
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Do Not Use Disoriental

4.24 (949 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shortlisted for the 2018 National Book Awards

One of The Globe & Mail's Best Books of 2018

WINNER: Le Prix du Roman News, Style Prize, Lire Best Debut Novel 2016, la Porte Dorée Prize Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them. In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet it is Kimiâ herself--punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own "disorientalization"--who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 340 pages
  • 135 x 210 x 33.02mm | 430.91g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Translation
  • 1609454510
  • 9781609454517
  • 189,852

Review quote

Praise for Disoriental

"Like the best kind of fable, it is a tale of the solace and constriction of tradition and the magic and danger of reinvention."--The Times Literary Supplement

"In her remarkable novel, 'Disoriental, ' Negar Djavadi. . . beautifully captures the 'disorientation' of exile and the attempt to reconstruct a self through family stories."--Dalia Sofer, The New York Times

"Tina Kover's translation from French is lively and complex, with Négar Djavadi's rich, elegant sentences shining through."--Vox Another award-winner is Négar Djavadi's debut, Disoriental, translated by Tina Kover. A multigenerational epic of the Sadr family's life in Iran and their eventual exile, as told by former punk Kimiâ Sadr as she sits in a Paris fertility clinic, this one is full of surprises. Where initially Disoriental seems focused on Kamiâ's father and his pro-democracy activism - first against the Shah, then the Ayatollah Khomeini - this is truly Kimiâ's story of disorientation - national, familial and sexual - and finding herself again.--The Globe and Mail

"There's certainly enough of interest and appeal here, and there are some creative touches to the presentation, right down to the use of a few footnotes . . . and the glimpse of pre- and then revolutionary Iran and Iranian culture is quite interesting."--The Complete Review

"The family currently lives in France and Disoriental's message is particularly poignant, and relevant, in today's political climate, when refugees are not freely welcome in many Western countries. . . With beautiful prose by Djavadi (and skillful translation from the original French by Tina Kover), and Kimia's biting wit, readers will be entranced by the Sadr family lore."--The Furious Gazelle

"[Djavadi] masterfully takes her reader through multiple parallel journeys in time and space."--The Los Angeles Review of Books

"In a tour de force of storytelling, screenwriter and debut novelist Djavadi deftly weaves together the history of 20th-century Iran [...] with the spellbinding chronicle of her own ancestors. [...] [T]his enchanting novel, well translated and with surprises and delights on every page, perfectly blends historical fact with contemporary themes."--Library Journal

"Authentic, ambitious, richly layered, and very readable, [...] every scene [of Disoriental] rings true."--Kirkus

"What is obvious from the beginning of this riveting novel is that Djavadi is an immensely gifted storyteller, and Kimiâ's tale is especially compelling."--Booklist (Starred Review)

"Disoriental is a rich, irreverent, kaleidoscopic novel of real originality and power. I've never read anything quite like it."--Alexander Maksik, author of You Deserve Nothing "Djavadi's momentous first novel [...] convincingly and powerfully explores the enormous weight of one's family and culture on individual identity, especially the exile's."--Publishers Weekly "Djavadi here offers an account of an Iranian family, thought revolutions, relationships, and diaspora, and she does so with a voice remarkably open to humor, warmth, and love. The prose is at once chaotic and precise, charismatic and familiar. Disoriental is a wonder and a pleasure to read."--Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances "Disoriental is epic in scope and yet deeply, even intimately, personal-the novel blows up any lines between the personal and the political, intertwining generations of inherited family stories in a way that doesn't just bring history to life (though it does that as well), it shows the lingering and often cruel effects seemingly disembodied historical forces can cast on an individual like Kimiâ Sadr. And amidst a story that could not be more topical--encompassing political upheaval and emigration, gender and sexuality--Djavadi's reluctantly worldly-wise narrator casually lays bare devastating truths about society and human nature. Stunning."--Tim Mohr, author of Burning Down the Haus

"By turns heartbreaking and humorous, Negar Djavadi takes us on a whirlwind journey through Iran's modern history, vividly capturing the pain of exile with passion and heart."--Saleem Haddad, author of Guapa

"Disoriental is a novel that will take your breath away, a lovely hymn to the freedom to live, to think, and to love." --France Inter

"Emotion, comedy, fever, and drama."--Elle

"If the history of Iran had to be contained in a book, set in motion and shaken by its revolutions, it would give you Disoriental...astonishing, disorderly, extraordinary, and enjoyable." --Le Devoir

"Constructed like a vinyl record, with its epic and novelistic A-side and its 'awkward little sister, ' the personal and political B-side, Disoriental has many enticing tracks. These include its narrative strength, held up by the consummate art of digression, changes in tone and rhythm, and the richness of its themes, as well as the precision of the critical eye that it points most notably at French society." --Le Monde des livres

"An incredible story...that leaves the reader dumbstruck, intensely and emotionally thrown off course." --ActuaLitté

"An ample political, historical, and intimate fresco, Disoriental appeals to readers with its freedom, its power, its breath, its language, and offers brilliant reflections on exile and identity. Impressive!" --Le Carnet à spirales

"Magnificent." --Le Soir

"An enchanting writer." --Canal +

Bookseller Blurbs

"PHENOMENAL! Insightful and compelling...Djavadi takes on huge social topics such as immigration, homosexuality, politics and culture and distills those issues into the personal experience of one girl, who is so genuine and endearing that one can't help but come to understand and have compassion for what she and her family endured. This story is one that needs to be read!"--Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette Bookstore

"A master storyteller, Djavadi unravels Kimiâ Sadr's origin with family lore that has been passed down for generations, beginning with her Persian great grandfather in 1896. Each thread of the family's story builds the foundation for their harrowing escape to France during the Iranian Revolution. This book is a triumph and humanizes the history of a culture that many have ignored." --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop
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About Negar Djavadi

Tina Kover's published works include the Modern Library translation of Georges by Alexandre Dumas père, The Black City by George Sand (Carroll & Graf), and Maurice G. Dantec's Cosmos Incorporated and Grand Junction. In 2009 she received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for the translation of Manette Salomon by the Goncourt brothers.
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Rating details

949 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 44% (421)
4 40% (376)
3 13% (125)
2 2% (22)
1 1% (5)
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