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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,106 ratings  ·  600 reviews
Kimia Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself, as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimia is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves.

In the waiting room of a Par
Paperback, 338 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Europa Editions (first published August 25th 2016)
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sylvie It is fiction however being familiar with the Shah's Iran the political aspect of this book is real, it covers much of the book.
Personally after read…more
It is fiction however being familiar with the Shah's Iran the political aspect of this book is real, it covers much of the book.
Personally after reading this book I will look up more about the writer and how she perceived the story she wrote.
It is definitely a historical novel.(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  4,106 ratings  ·  600 reviews

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Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, recs
A family saga intermixed with Iranian history, Disoriental follows Kimiâ Sadr as she recalls her experience of emigrating from Iran to France at the age of ten. The first half of the autobiographical novel examines Kimiâ’s childhood in Iran, focusing on her ambivalent relationship to her dissident parents and older sisters. The second takes place after the Sadrs have fled Iran for their safety, and it tracks Kimiâ’s coming of age in Europe, centering on her realization that she loves women. Both ...more
Linda Robinson
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disoriental. Indeed. Recommended by my favorite bookseller. We were talking about what we're reading. I told her that for a few years I've been reading debut novels by women, and preferably a new translation to English. She brought this book to me. The cover is excellent, the title as well, and Megan said that it was a translation from French, new to the American book market. She handed the book to me as she spoke like a gift. It is.

"In Paris, my father, Darius Sadr, never took the escalator. T
Paul Fulcher
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2020

To really integrate into a culture, I can tell you that you have to disintegrate first, at least partially from your own. You have to separate, detach, dissociate.

Disoriental has been translated by Tina Kover from Négar Djavadi's 2016 French language original Désorientale. Already shortlisted for the first National Book Award for Translated Literature, I would be surprised if it doesn't feature in the UK Man Booker International run
Where to start? Well I really enjoyed this and there is a great deal to it. It is narrated by Kimia Sadr who escapes from Iran to the West when she is 10 in 1979 with her mother and sisters (her father having left some months earlier). Her father was an academic who had managed to anger both the Shah’s secret police and then Khomeni’s regime in fairly equal measure. It is not a linear story and it jumps around: as the narrator says:
“Talking about the present means I have to go deep into the pas
Wow, what a read, and an ending, all those blank pages at the end, I wasn't ready for it to be over, and a little overwhelmed by that news.
My son:
"Mum, are you crying?"
"It's finished" is all I can mutter.

I could end my review right there, those were the words I tweeted not long after I finished 'Disoriental' while I was still in the moment of coming to the end of an excellent story, of an immersive experience I wasn't ready to be done with.

The book is a dual narrative, set in the present and
Kimiâ Sadr has made it through a gruelling vetting process for specialist fertility treatment. As she waits in a French clinic for the final procedure, her mind’s overwhelmed with images of her extended family and childhood in Iran. Out of apparently random thoughts an epic family saga slowly emerges, at its centre six brothers including Kimiâ’s charismatic father, Darius. Darius’s radical politics placed him in conflict first with the Shah’s, then the Khomenei regime that followed, forcing Kimi ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a difficult book to rate and review because it contains so many different elements. The narrator Kimia tells the story of her family and its part in Iranian political history - her father is a journalist whose independent views bring him into conflict with both the pre- and post-revolutionary Iranian regimes. The slightly smaller second part (Side B) is a much more personal account of the family's flight to Paris and Kimia's discovery of both her independence of her family and her ...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
I read this book due to its shortisting for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award.

Paul's review here gives the background and plot of the book:

So I will restrict my review to my impressions:

There was a lot to like in this book. I enjoyed much of Side A – I liked the way in which the author broke the fourth wall so consistently (and on balance appreciated, rather than was annoyed by, the idea of her acting as her own Wikipedia guide in the footnotes)
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. 5 because it's extraordinary and another 5 because no book has ever resonated with me like this book. This is my life with a few exceptions, but it's written so beautifully that I read it like a work of art as opposed to a memoir. The book straddles both genres. It's obvious that the novel is autobiographical, but it somehow seems to stay true to both fiction and reality. I highlighted so much of the prose in the book that by the end I had more highlig ...more
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated from the French by Tina A. Kover, won several writing awards in France. And deservedly so. The title word combines the disorientation characterizing the immigrant experience with that of families moving from the orient to Europe. It also applies to the disintegration of a large, cohesive family unit uprooted from its homeland to scatter all over the globe.

The novel opens at a fertility clinic in Paris. Our narrator is Kimiâ Sadr, a young Iranian immigrant
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A bold statement but this has got to be up there as a contender for my favourite novel of the year.

Part family saga, part crash-course in Iranian history, Disoriental is the story of the Sadr family narrated by the youngest daughter, Kimiâ. We meet Kimiâ in the present day where she is living in Paris, is in her 40s and in a fertility clinic accompanied by a man who (it becomes apparent) is not her husband. The family's story is then told alongside the present day narrative through a series of
Inderjit Sanghera
It is difficult to articulate the feeling of otherness engendered by being a refugee; drowning beneath an endless sea of loss, to be washed up on the shores of an alien culture, a culture which beneath a thin veneer of liberalism masks a sense of smugness and superiority. If you were to sum up the theme of ‘Disoriental’ it would be of retaining a sense of hope amidst an endless feeling of alienation; alienation from the tyranny of parochial regime which seeks to strip people of their rights, ali ...more
Richard Derus
Mar 15, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up for the gorgeous translation and fascinating structure



My Review
: From the off, this is a very musical, music-like story, told in the form of "Side A" and "Side B." This alerts us "...old enough to remember 45 rpm vinyl records know that the B-side is usually less interesti
Aug 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Both a multigenerational family saga and an intensive primer on modern Iranian history, Disoriental is translated from the French with skill and humor by Tina Kover; the resulting novel is an absolute tour de force. We meet Kimiâ Sadr in the waiting room of a fertility clinic in Paris, and the pages that follow tell the story of her family’s history, unfolding in a nonlinear fashion and focusing largely on her father, journalist and radical activist Darius Sadr.

This is a complex book both in ter
Thanks to Russell from Ink and Paper blog for turning me on to this book. When I came across his channel and saw that he had a debut bookclub that included A Kind of Freedom, one of my favorite reads from the TOB longlist last year, I figured that it was definitely worth my time to check out the other five. Links below

Disoriental opens with a lesbian woman waiting for treatment at a fertility clinic, but this is not the focus of the story. Our narrator, Kimiâ Sadr warns us that the pages of this
Roman Clodia
3.5 stars

... to make our own story part of their own. There's nothing better than a ritual for erasing borders and going back to our mutual roots, to who we are, and where we come from.

*Morning after update* (my original review is below)
Thinking back on why I only rated this as 3.5 stars after enjoying reading it, and I think that's because it feels like a very safe book to me. There are traumatic and painful things that happen throughout the narrative but they're perhaps not given the emoti
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
"After so much time and distance, it’s not their world that flows in my veins anymore, or their languages or traditions or beliefs, or even their fears, but their stories."

The title of the book is a sort of portmanteau word combining “disorient” and “oriental”. It is the perfect title for this book which concerns itself with the confusion and complexity of exile from an Eastern nation. It is, in essence, a family saga about four generations of an Iranian family which moves from Iran to France as
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is my review, originally published on LA Review of Books:

DISORIENTAL, A STYLISTICALLY FRAGMENTED novel by the French-Iranian Négar Djavadi, reads like a multilayered pastiche of unrelated themes, yet all connected to Kimiâ Sadr’s troubled life. A daughter, a sister, a political refugee, a bisexual, going through an existential crisis, needing to write. From the opening, we realize the novel’s main protagonist, Kimiâ, is writing for an audience, almost
Zsa Zsa
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That lake that is so big they call it a sea...

I think of my body as my only country, my only homeland, and I will draw its contours the way I want them.
Excellent and powerful. Marinating...

4+ Stars

Read on kindle
katayoun Masoodi
loved it at first, but then all the political shout and pontifications, was too much after a while.
A mixture of beautiful story telling and political views stated as facts (i really dislike it when opinions are said like they are the facts and there's no other way of looking at it!). the beautiful storytelling for me and things so near to my experiences made it a three stars for me, otherwise i could easily have rated it a two
I would definitely be looking for more books from ms djavadi, hoping
This was the book I read in May for my Read One Translated Book a Month Challenge. It was so excellent and goes into the running for my Top 25 Books Read this year.

Negar Djavadi was born in Iran in 1969 to intellectual parents opposed to the regimes of both the Shah and Khomeni. She arrived in France at the age of eleven, having crossed the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister.

The novel is loosely based on her experiences. It does require the reader to have some knowl
Resh (The Book Satchel)
I could go on and on about this book and I would not know where to begin, and where to end. It is packed with history and the personal, social laws and sexuality, stories and people.

Thoughts -
I love this book. Told in 2nd person the narrator, Kimia Sadr, tells the history of modern Iran by embedding it in the history of her Persian family.

I am a sucker for generational stories with wise, old grandmothers and colorful relatives, and Négar Djavadi’s skillful weaving of the tales of her powerful great-grandfather Montazemolmolk and his 52 wives, her beautiful blue eyed paternal grandmother and her 6 sons, her maternal grandmother’s Armenian parents’ journey and her ability to read coff
Kim Becker (MIDDLE of the Book MARCH)
***4.5 stars. :)
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
“But freedom is an illusion. The only thing that changes is the size of your prison.”

My third read for #WITMonth has perhaps been my favorite so far! DISORIENTAL by Négar Djavadi (translated from French by Tina Kover) was a wonderful exploration of a family history and experience of the Iranian Revolution. Our narrator, Kimiâ, sweeps up family stories from many generations as well as shares her own experience in the present timeline in a fertility clinic.

I also loved the articulation of gender a
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in the voice of an Iranian exile in Paris (like Djavadi themself), the book explores the complex familial and political experiences of the narrator’s childhood in Tehran leading to a life and death escape to Turkey, and later Paris. It also explores their landing in the nihilism of the music scene in Europe, and their teens and adulthood spent in this world drinking and drugging and fucking (although with considerably less detail than part one of the book). The narrator reflects on all of t ...more
A fine work, all the more impressive as this is the Djavadi’s first novel. It’s also on the shortlist of the National Book Award for Translated Literature this year.

The craft is excellent, but not intrusive. We start in the fertility clinic in Paris, and jump back and forth in time and place, but always in a logical way. At first Djavadi eases these transitions with authorial comments that she really needs to tell us about another event as well, but that will come later. Eventually the reader i
I almost gave this five stars but as the author says Side B wasn't as good as Side A.
Side A relates the life of Kimia Sadr the youngest of three daughters. Her father is an intellect, journalist and writer who becomes (in)famous for publicly criticising the Shah. After Khomeni takes power Kimia's father finds himself an enemy of the now State religious movement. Kimia relates her story as she waits for an implant of sperm at a medical clinic. She must have waited a long time as her story is long
Ahmad Hammouri
It was a memoir more than a novel

Although there are some aspects from this book that i liked, however, it was ruined for me by the huge amount of slow historical opinions (which were stated as facts),confusing storytelling and all the events that should be giving more emotional clarification without rushing through.

Finishing this book was a chore more than enjoyment.
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Négar Djavadi was born in Iran in 1969 to a family of intellectuals opposed to the regimes both of the Shah, then of Khomeini. She arrived in France at the age of eleven, having crossed the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister. She is a screenwriter and lives in Paris. Disoriental is her first novel.

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“On a la vie de ses risques [...]. Si on ne prend pas de risque, on subit, et si on subit, on meurt, ne serait-ce que d'ennui.” 6 likes
“That's the tragedy of exile. Things, as well as people, still exist, but you have to pretend to think of them as dead.” 3 likes
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