A Mirror Garden

I’ve just started reading this wonderfully stimulating memoir recently and want to recommend it. The following review is by Ben Loehnen in TimeOut:

611_x231_books_4_siloHalfway through Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s new memoir, A Mirror Garden, she describes playing a game of Twister in front of the shah: “I was sprawled akimbo on the plastic mat with my ass in the air.” This comical image—of a woman straddling East and West, the ancien régime and modernity—is a touchstone for Farmanfarmaian’s life. Born into Persia’s ruling class in 1924, she is a zany woman with a sense of adventure and curiosity reminiscent of Auntie Mame.

During World War II, the budding artist moved to New York City, where she studied painting and became something of a fixture in the fashion world. After a turbulent marriage (and the birth of one child), she returned to Iran in 1957, lured by an incipient romance with a prince, whom she eventually married. Her privileged life allowed her to scour Iran for the folk art and architectural detritus that informed so much of her own work until 1978, when the shah fell. Knowing that they would become pariahs in fundamentalist Iran, Farmanfarmaian and her husband returned to New York City to recast the shards of their lives.

More here.