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Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
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Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  985 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Shortly after the 1989 publication of Women Without Men in her native Iran, Shahrnush Parsipur was arrested and jailed for her frank and defiant portrayal of women’s sexuality. Now banned in Iran, this small masterpiece was eventually translated into several languages and introduces U.S. readers to the work of a brilliant Persian writer. With a tone that is stark, and bold ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1978)
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Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod SerajiCensoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar MandanipourWomen Without Men by Shahrnush ParsipurThe Blind Owl by Sadegh HedayatSavushun by Simin Daneshvar
Iranian Fiction
3rd out of 19 books — 16 voters
The Riot Grrrl Collection by Lisa DarmsPussy Riot! by Pussy RiotZipper Mouth by Laurie WeeksResurrecting Cybele by Jenifer MohammedThe Feminist Porn Book by Tristan Taormino
Best of The Feminist Press
16th out of 16 books — 7 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,127)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Oh great, I get to be a book club naysayer for the third time out of three, on the second book in a row that I voted for out of ten total potentials. I'm averaging 2.666 on club-related ratings here, which incidentally makes me happy because 666, but primarily makes me feel like Asshole McChoosy-pants. I hope the candidates I put forward all end up middling-to-sucky, or I'm sure going to look like a real taste snob. I swear I am not blindly obstinate. I double-swear I like books. Much.

The truth
...more
Jimmy
I read a review that claimed that this is not a feminist novel. If it were a feminist novel, the characters would not rely on men, they would assert themselves powerfully at all times, and their lives would be better for it.

Umm, newsflash. A novel can be feminist without all its characters being feminists, strong women, and perfect all the time. That would be unrealistic and boring. Let's first understand that feminism is realism, i.e. realistic portrayal of women, including women who are not fe
...more
Saman
لینک دانلود این کتاب را در گروه "دانلود کتابهای نایاب" گذاشتهام و دوستان میتوانند به راحتی دانلودش کنند ...more
Mohammad
کتاب داستان چندزن است که هریک از رذیلتی مردانه که به آنها تحمیل شده دور می شوند و سرنوشتشان بهم پیوند میخورد: شهوت (مهدخت و زرین کلاه)، تمسخر و تحقیر(فرخ لقا)، غیرت (مونس) و بیمهری (فائزه) ر

پارسی پور در این کتاب برای زنان نسخه می پیچد: «میلیون ها آدم در آب غرق شده اند تا اولین آدم شنا کردن را بیاموزد» (ص43) ... اما جدا از اینکه روش این نسخه پیچی درست است یا نه (چیزی که زن ها باید درمورد آن نظر دهند) بنظرم فرم (داستان و نثر بی مزه آن) و محتوای نسخه (اینکه بکارت را بزرگترین مسئله زن ایرانی گرفته)
...more
Leila Dehghan
کتاب من را به یاد قطعه ای از فروغ فرخزاد انداخت، چرا؟
بخوانید لذت ببرید شاید با من هم عقیده شدید

دست هایم را در باغچه می کارم
سبز خواهم شد
می دانم
می دانم
و پرستو ها در گودی انگشتان جوهریم
تخم خواهند گذاشت...
Faranak Bakhshipour
قصه زنهاییست که در هر بخش به طور جداگانه بخش تلخی از زندگیشان را میخوانیم
مهدختی که در باغ کرج درخت میشود
فائزه ای که عاشق امیر است و با زن برادرش رقابت آشپزی دارد.
مونس پیر دختر ساده ای که دوبار میمیرد و زنده میشود و قدرت خواندن ذهنها را دارد.
فاحشه ای که مردان همبسترش را بی سر میدید.
فرخ لقای میانسال زیبا که شوهرش را غیر عمد میکشد.
همه اینها در آخر به کرج میروند
که چه؟ که سرنوشتشان نه مثل هم که در کنار هم رقم بخورد؟
خانم پارسی پور به زن از چند بعد و در قالب چند زندگی نگاه میکند عریانش میکند تفسیرش میک
...more
Tahira
Women Without Men appears more like a poem than a novel. It is so infused with symbolism that one must either suspend reality, or imagine what Parsipur was trying to convey about the social and political climate at that point in Iran's history. Thankfully, the afterward that accompanied the edition of the novel that I read was most useful when tackling the latter task.

Women Without Men is unlike any other text I have read, and yet it's brevity makes it seem so light and simple, as though the sto
...more
Jessica
This is a really wild novel, unlike any you'll ever read. Parsipur was banned in her native Iran; last I knew she was living in the States (she's taught at Brown U.). Parsipur deals with the limited choices women have in Iran, the violence they face for being raped, rebellious, for breaking even in small ways with the constrictive norm. The novella cannot of course take these issues head-on and so does so in a wildly imaginative way. Parsipur's women find their own haven--one woman becomes a tre ...more
Amir Muntasser
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Qian
Women Without Men is a short novel made up of stories about five women who come together in a house with a garden in Karaj, outside Tehran. They include a wealthy middle-class wife and a prostitute.

Parsipur's stories involve the challenges women face in trying to live without men in Iran, featuring a debate about whether virginity is a curtain or a hole, rape, and the enforcement of notions of honour by women as well as men, as well as more everyday concerns. The stories are about people, not id
...more
Yousef Alikhani
زنان بدون مردان كاري متفاوت در آثار پارسي پور است. اين داستان را اولين بار دوران دانشجويي خواندم. بيش از ده سال قبل. هنوز لحظه به لحظه اش را به خاطر دارم و عجيب اين كه خواندن اين كتاب جرقه نوشتن داستاني را زد كه هنوز منتشرش نكرده ام:... و قابيل هم بود ...more
Claudia
I must say, I expected a whole different kind of story from the description I read about the book. And a big surprise waited for me: it is so full of magical elements that your head is spinning and you get the message only when you reach the very last pages. I guess all those literature classes from high school, stuffed with allegories, metaphors and symbols, showed their utility now :D (view spoiler) ...more
Ron
After the author's monumental novel "Touba," this novella is both as serious and light-hearted as Pedro Almodovar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." Parsipur's unabashed subject matter is the mindless subjugation of women among tradition-bound Iranians, where fear of losing her chastity keeps a girl in the story from climbing trees and a jealous brother may take a knife to a sister whom he believes has dishonored the family.

As chance would have it in the world of this novel, a murder
...more
Vanessa
Women Without Men breaks my heart. It was difficult to read at times because of the stark violence and discrimination against women. As a Western woman, I am aware of the privileges I have over other women in the world. This was made very clear to me when I read the stories of these five women.

The magical realism in this novel is amazing and works so well with the plot and the characters. I absolutely love the storyline and the way the garden acts as a catalyst for change. The change is really
...more
okyrhoe
This is a rather peculiar book.
I'd already seen most of Shirin Eshat's video-art pieces related to the novel, and so I was prepared for the fantastical element of the story.
However I was somewhat disappointed with the text. I found it too simplistic - even if the intention is to resemble a parable. It seemed to me as if the intended audience is the type of women described in the book - an odd thing, to say the least!
In a way, the plight of these female characters is not a unique one; with mini
...more
Zara
This short, magical novel reads more like poetry than prose. Parsipur writes about the limited (and often horrifying) choices of women in modern Iran, and although I didn't love each part of this book equally, there are some gorgeous, haunting lines that made it well worth the read.
Elaine Klincik
Strong female characters in a repressive environment. It was an interesting look at the Iranian culture in recent decades. I always find it shocking to see how little value is given to a woman's life in that culture. Though the story dealt with very heavy themes, the interweaving of humor and magic realism left me feeling hopeful for their futures. The ending left me breathless. I may not have loved the entire book, but I LOVED the ending.
Daniela Ducaru
"...întotdeauna dorințele inimii sunt cele care aduc oamenii în pragul nebuniei."
Grace
A very quick read, and extremely allegorical...a bit too much for my taste, really, but very powerful because of it. I think part of my appreciation for the book stems from my respect for the author and the opposition (including inprisonment) that she has had to endure. And the imagery is really beautiful -- which is probably why Shirin Neshat decided to make the four short films for Prospect 1 based on this novella...which is what I saw and led me to this book.

Of course now I want to read Hemi
...more
Elizabeth
My friend gave this to me; I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. It's muted writing, with a slight magical realism to it. I find myself reflecting on it further now that I've read The Bookseller of Kabul. The grave oppression that is evident in the nonfiction book is softened here, but there's also a peculiar affective flatness to the writing. It's as though the beauty and subversiveness of the ideas, given the cultural context from which the book came, had to be framed in an understated man ...more
Adam
I want to read the Persian eventually, but as it has elements of magic realism, reading the Persian first would have probably just been a recipe for frustration. This is a great, short book. I like when a translated text is colored by the original language, but there is sometimes a point at which it feels too much like you are reading a translation, and it becomes sort of clunky. I only felt that for the first few pages with this one, and then it passed. There is something very folkloric (?) abo ...more
Semnebune
„Pe lângă faptul că te trezești într-un tablou diferit de tot ceea ce ai citit până acum despre lumea femeilor care nu au dreptul la propria viață, mi se pare interesantă ”tehnica” (dacă poate fi numită așa) celor 1001 de nopți ale Șeherezadei, adică împletirea unui fir care va da naștere unui alt fir și tot așa. Nu numai că Șeherezada noastră nu tace la ivirea zorilor, ci chiar se revoltă și îndrăznește să stârnească furia sultanului pentru că nu are de gând să-i mai îndeplinească vreo poruncă. ...more
Shokufeh شکوفه  Kavani کاوانی
شاهکار ادبیات مدرن فارسی..........در باره ء این کتاب حرف ناگفته ائ برائ گفتن نمانده است.....برائ من تنها افتخار آشنایی با شهرنوش پارسی پور بسنده است.
Judith
I decided to read this book after reading about the film, which I still want to watch. I found it a harder read than I expected. Not surprising that it was difficult to relate to any of the characters, but the writing (or translation) was also a barrier. It's a short novella of inter-related stories and although it seemed a bit predictable, they all converged towards the end of the book. There is a magical realism element, that was the element of the story that actually worked the best for me.
Mpho3
Jan 28, 2015 Mpho3 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mpho3 by: Shirin Neshat
Parsipur was imprisoned for writing this book, which makes me want to give it five stars right off the bat, but I try to keep my ratings "honest" based on a combination of the writing itself and how it affects me. While Women Without Men is certain affecting and skillfully rendered, I can't help feeling that some of the nuances were lost on me, either by way of it being a translated work (no affront to the translator) or more likely, my lack of knowledge about Persian/Iranian culture. I'm certai ...more
leslie nikole
I sat down and read this straight in one day without paying attention to anything else around me. From my morning ride downtown bound to lunch time in my usual spot, my nose was dead stuck in this book.

I watched the film first for a little preview, but I think because it wasn't in English and there was solely subtitles, the movie was probably not as deep as it was to me on a writer's context, if that makes any sense. I honestly feel like the translation wasn't as amazing as it could be. The movi
...more
Jafar
I heard about this book when it was published and heard what happened to its author, but couldn’t get a hold of a copy to read it. Found a free PDF version of it on the Web. (Sorry Ms. Parsipour for not buying your book.) The story didn’t really appeal to me, but I can see why it made such a big noise and why the Islamic Republic came down on her so hard. The book came out during the most repressive period of the Islamic Republic. It not only brings up the plight of women in the traditional soci ...more
Tina
I saw the movie artist/film maker Shirin Neshat created based on this book in Jan. 2011. The visuals were amazing and but it was difficult to grasp the hidden meanings of all the layers in the story. I bought the book and found it to actually be a short read once I stayed with it. At the end of the book, there was a lot of explanation to the characters and metaphors. It made so much sense to me! If you want to know more about where and how women stand in the Iranian society this is an awesome bo ...more
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Loosed in Transla...: Women Without Men by Parsipur 2 16 Aug 18, 2014 04:20AM  
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