A Mirror Garden: A Memoir

  • Publish Date: 2007-06-12
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Monir Farmanfarmaian;Zara Houshmand

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In Persia in 1924, when a child still had to worry about hostile camels in the bazaar and a nanny might spin stories at her pillow until her eyes fell shut, the extraordinary and irresistible Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born. From the enchanted basement storeroom where she played as a girl to the penthouse high above New York City where she would someday live, this is the delightful and inspiring story of her life as an artist, a wife and mother, a collector, and an Iranian.

Born an adventurer and a tomboy, Monir describes a childhood spent getting into scrapes and dreaming up improbable destinies. We see the mischievous girl become a spirited young woman defiant of tradition: traveling to America during World War II; training as an artist; escaping a disastrous marriage; and learning to support herself and her baby before Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian, an Iranian of royal descent, whisks her back to Tehran for her second wedding.

Home again and happily married, Monir discovers the neglected folk arts of far-flung regions and explores her own creative impulse, in which traditional Iranian forms reveal surprisingly modern possibilities. She throws marvelous parties and delights in road trips in the decades before the revolution forces her to leave everything behind and begin a new life in New York.

An enchanting love story, a compelling portrait of the creative spirit, and a celebration of the warmth and grace of Iranian culture, A Mirror Garden is also a genuine fairy tale whose exuberant heroine has never needed rescuingfor by embracing experience, she has always charmed her own life.

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