Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fiction Review: Marriage on the Street Corners of Tehran

My most recent book read and reviewed for Publishers Weekly was Marriage on the Street Corners of Tehran by Nadia Shahram. You can read the review I wrote for PW at this link.

This book surprised me in many ways. I thought it would probably be interesting subject matter (fiction based on the lives of real women in Iran), but I didn't expect such a compelling and well-written story. "Temporary marriage" is a Shia Muslim custom that is basically a legalized form of prostitution, where men (some of them already married) can legally form a "temporary marriage" to a woman (usually very young women) in order to have extramarital sex while technically sticking to the rules of their religion.

The story follows one main character, Ateesh, starting with her disastrous marriage to an abusive husband when she is 12, but it also incorporates the stories of many Iranian women - her friends and family members and other women she meets - to give a full view of the role of women in Iran today. This would be an excellent choice for a book group, with so many important topics to discuss.

It's a stunning, powerful novel that kept me turning the pages. Click the link above to read my full review.


  1. Wow, this sounds fascinating. I read Excellent Daughters a while back and I was struck by the permissiveness of some cultures all while maintaining the facade of purity.

    1. Yes, you put your finger on it, Lindsey - it's the contrast between outward appearances & what's really happening that is especially disturbing. She covers a wide ranges of such disparities in this novel.