The Book of Fate
Written by Parinoush Saniee
Translated by Sara Khalili
Publication Date August 31, 2013
Selected as one of World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations of 2013
Spanning five turbulent decades in Iranian history, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present, The Book of Fate is a powerful story of friendship and passion, fear 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 discovers his letters they accuse her of bringing them dishonour. She is badly beaten by her brother, and her parents hastily arrange for her to marry a man she’s never met. Facing a life without love, and the prospect of no education, Massoumeh is distraught, but a female neighbour urges her to comply: "We each have a destiny, and you can’t 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 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.
Selected for the World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations 2013
PARINOUSH SANIEE is a sociologist and psychologist. She was formerly manager of the research department at the Supreme Coordination Council for Technical and Vocational Education in Iran. Her first novel, The Book of Fate, won the Boccaccio Prize in Italy, Euskadi de Plata Prize in the Basque Country, and was selected as one of World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2013. I Hid My Voice is her second novel that has been translated into English. Her other books are awaiting approval by the censorship board.
"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
"...this 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
"...this engrossing story is difficult to put down at any juncture." Historical Novel Society
"...the novel was enlightening." Dead Ink