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That Stranger within Me

A Foreign Woman Caught Up in the Iranian Revolution
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This is a multi-layer work. In each layer you discover yet another `stranger' who is totally intermingled with the central character. The `stranger' lurks inside her and is projected outside at the same time, attaining an encircling presence. You go to a journey with this stranger and what you discover is yourself. The book acts as a psychological mirror.

— M. Sami'i
Baztab. Sweden

She has done it again! The magic of mixing ordinary with extra-ordinary, detective-story and psychological surreal, is working here with power and authority. This is the skill of turning a best-seller into a work of art.

— Hannaneh
Nimrouz. England

Luba is believable and loveable. Her presence, as the central figure of the book, and her life give the story a plausible historical itinerary composed of different roles and anecdotes created by the Iranian Revolution!

— Navak Nasim.
Nameh ye Kanoon. London

I like this story very much. It is different from the usual way of story telling in Persian. One can accept the characters and like them. There is no ornamental piece in the book to cover pitfalls and short-comings, a technique reminiscent of that employed in old Persian miniature paintings. There is no endeavor to create a grandiose but non-functional literary language and the language adopted for narration and dialogues is capable of attracting the Western reader if translated.

— Taghi Modarresi.


Shokooh MirzadegiSHOKOOH MIRZADEGI was born in 1944 in Tehran, Iran. She studied child psychology and began her career by running a successful mixed school in her birthplace. Her short stories and poems appeared in Iranian literary magazines as early as the second half of 1960s. Her first collection of short stories was published in 1973, just before she was arrested, tortured and put in jail for two years, accused of conspiring to overthrow the Iranian monarchy. She was only released when she accepted to appear on the national TV and plea for pardon. It took her a couple of years to recuperate from this ordeal and restart her literary activities. Soon she published two more books and wrote several articles on the plight of women in her country. This coincided with the advent of the Islamic Revolution which put her back in prison for a short while and forced her to abandon her country and seek asylum in Britain. For fourteen years she has lived in London and was active as an out-spoken writer on the issues of democracy, freedom of speech and feminism in Iran. She edited several periodicals and published literary works of substance and value during these years. In 1990, she married Esmail Nooriala, a well-known Iranian poet and literary critic. Ever since, they have published a cultural magazine, Puyeshgaran, which has been influential in Iranian intellectual circles outside of Iran. She finished and published her novel, That Stranger within Me, in 1993 in London. The book proved to be a best seller and a very popular work of art to be reprinted two more times within a year and attract two major Iranian literary prizes (Baran and Sepas). Shokooh and her husband, who has rendered the present translation of this novel into English, immigrated to the United States in 1994 and have been living, working and writing in Denver, Colorado ever since.

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