Married to a Stranger

"The ecstasies and disillusionments of first love are the stuff of great tragedies and cheap romances but Nahid Rachlin has done something else with this familiar theme, and something more, though her style is elegantly simple... Miss Rachlin shows us not only the tranquil inner courtyards with sweets and gossip exchanged by the fishpond, the flower bedecked bridal chamber, but also the political, social and religious factions contending for primacy in the streets outside... Minou is a dreamy literary girl... like other yearning heroines from Dorothea Brooke to Emma Bovary, she wants more than conventional marriage..."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Married to a Stranger seems to me such a clear statement and all of one pieces--a direct cry, as it were, from out of a particular feminine sensibility. Reading the book, one feels one knows what it is like to be a girl growing up to be a woman in urban, 'modern' Iran; and knows it not from the outside, as from a sociological survey, but from within a living experience... Nahid Rachlin has refined her prose... by giving it the clarity and spare sensuousness of Persian poetry or miniature painting."
--Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

"Like the novels of Jane Austen, Married to a Stranger is presented entirely from a female point of view. But this is not a story just for women. The larger dimensions of this book's plot--the struggle of an intelligent, likeable young person... is one of the great themes of the novel to which both sexes can easily relate..."
--Catskill Mountain News

"... Rachlin's own experiences enriched her ability to convey so convincingly the thoughts, feelings, and observations of an intelligent young woman seeking personal freedom in an oppressive society."
--Philadelphia Inquirer

Selected Works

SHORT STORY COLLECTION, A Way Home is a timely and relevant book It collects 20 short stories of fiction, placed in contemporary Iran and the US, that examine the tortured conflicts and cross-cultural issues.
review: Chicago Tribune: In "Crowd of Sorrows Nahid Rachlin weaves a story of displacement and loss, centered on the idea that we build our homes around the people we love. Newly separated from her husband, Zora moves to a seemingly idyllic apartment complex to raise her daughter Anar. From the courtyard, they can see through the wide back windows to the building's young families. Zora imagines play dates and companionship, a place for the family of two to find their footing as the divorce is finalized. Instead, she discovers life at the complex is dominated by jealousies and petty scandals. Just when everything begins to settle, disaster strikes: Anar goes missing. In the search and its aftermath, Zora must come to terms with her ideas about security, independence and motherhood. The writing captures the gasping panic of Anar's disappearance beautifully. In a way, it's a story about the flipside of love: the consuming fear of loss.
REVIEW: NPR: The World, selected as ONE OF THE BEST FOUR BOOKS OF the year, by Christopher Merrill, Director of Iowa International Writing program: "If you want to know what it was like to grow up in Iran this is the book to read. Rachlin, the author of five previous works of fiction, including the much acclaimed Foreigner, begins her story at the age of nine, when she was taken away from the only mother she had ever known—her aunt, as it happens—and returned to a family in which the prospects of her becoming a writer were, at best, dim. But her portrait of the artist in an Islamic country on the verge of dramatic change is filled with light."
"If, as Aristotle reminds us, we are our desire, then who are we if the object of our desire is forbidden? What becomes of us if we are born in one world yet long for another? These are just two of the complex and difficult questions Nahid Rachlin explores and ultimately illuminates in this brave, engrossing, and timely novel. I recommend it highly!"--Andre (Dubus III),author of House of Sand and Fog, and In the Bedroom
"... a rare intimate look at Iranians who are poorer and less educated... I have read (this book) four times by now, and each time I have discovered new layers in it. The voice is cool and pure. Bleak is the right word, if you will understand that bleakness can have a startling beauty."
--Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review

Interviewed by Jessica Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties