Cover Image: In the Time of Our History

In the Time of Our History

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Member Reviews

Really loved this look at an Iranian-American family in the late 1990s as they grapple with tragedy, immigrant obligations, cultural clashes, and the changing country they left behind.

The Jahani family comes together for the One Year gathering to mourn the loss of their daughter and grandchildren in a car accident. Estranged daughter Mitra, who lives across the country, attends for her mother, but avoids her father at all costs. This visit to her hometown spurs revelations, revealed secrets, and insights that transform Mitra's life, and eventually the lives of her mother, father, cousin, and more. 

This was a really wonderful look at the cultural clashes in families (especially immigrant families, but it's relevant to most families!), as well as the tension and obligation they feel towards one another. The patriarchal system of the family becomes a weight and burden for all of them, and watching everyone come to that realization was really lovely. I am also just so glad that Mitra didn't end up having kids, as about halfway through I was terrified that would be the outcome. Instead, we get to witness the beauty of found family and women working together in community. This theme reminded me a bit of the modern Iranian classic Women Without Men, though without the magical realism. 

I think this is an excellent book for anyone who is learning about Iran's history for the first time in the wake of the protests. Pari does a great job at contextualizing and highlighting the contradictions and shifts that Iran has gone through in the past century, but it's also not too redundant if you're already familiar with the history like I am. 

Overall, highly recommend this look at an Iranian-American family as they grapple with grief and change.
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This is a very powerful book. It is a denser read and is definitely a book that is not the most easy read. It will challenge you on differnt topics like feminism, giving birth, having children nuclear family structure, the notion of being rebellious, honoring family and more. I think it is a great read but it is literary fiction so it is a book that you have to comb through slowly and thoughtfully. I would recommend it and hope to see it on a lot of different best seller list and more.
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When I saw this book on the list, I picked it to learn about the Iranian culture. It did not disappoint! I received a rich story from two countries and more importantly two sisters. Their relationship and story was gripping, compelling, and heartbreaking. I can't wait to put this in the hands of readers.
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This is a beautifully told, poignant, heartfelt story about what it means to be defined by your family and culture and the lengths some will go to to escape these metaphorical shackles. The characters are very real and relatable and the writing captivates. This will be a book club favorite.
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Suzanne Pari writes about the Iranian culture , its changes during the revolution,and how Americanized Iranians seek to blend the two cultures. I found this so interesting.The generational divide between the "old world" father and his first born daughter Mitre will wring the heart, as well as the his marital relationship with her mother. After being cast out of the famiy some years before, Mitre returns to mourne with her mother one year after the family members have died as the Iranian custom requires. As the story developes, the reader is treated to an indepth look at the family and the extended family. The history of Iran is interspersed throughout, making this an especially interesting read. The emotional temperature ranges from fury and sadness, to happiness and peace as the characters struggle through their lives as immigrants. I enjoyed this book so much. I recommend it to all who enjoy learning about other cultures, real life family issues, and/or generational sagas,
Thank yoy Netgalley, Susanne Pari and Kensington for sending me the ARC of this book as I requested. I am excited to share it !
#IntheTimeofOurHistory #NetGalley #SusannePari #Kensington
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In the Time of Our History was a mixed bag for me. I liked the characters and found the cultural differences interesting but I am weary of books that jump around in time and where I'm not sure what time frame we are in. This is a story that will make some best of lists with others struggling to get into it. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A book of tragic loss and how the family deals with said loss. Generational issues.  Dealing with two cultures and how to resolve the differences. 

Mitra the older daughter, chafes at her father's dictates.  Ana, who follows her father's wishes to the letter, is killed along with her two children.  Mitra comes home to New Jersey from California where she now lives, to honor her sister, niece, and nephew on the one year anniversary of their death.  Family issues about life in America vs. life in Iran and how different people decide to live their lives.

Some of the issues were a bit disconcerting, but my biggest issue was the 'jumping around' that the author did.  I had to go back and re-read some passages to figure out if it was current time or historical family time.

I was intrigued by this book since my great-grandfather emigrated from Persia in the early 1900's.  At that time, when you came to America, you were expected to be American and not keep any ties to Persia or the customs there. I sometimes wish some of the customs would at least have been spoken about, but my Great-grandfather jumped full on into America and left his Persian roots behind.
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“In the Time of Our History,” by Susanne Pari, John Scognamiglio Books, 384 pages, Jan. 3, 2023.

Twelve months after her younger sister Anahita’s death in an accident, Mitra Jahani reluctantly returns to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey to observe the Iranian custom of “The One Year.” 

While Ana bowed to their domineering father’s demands and married, Mitra rebelled, made herself ineligible for marriage and was banished. Mitra wanted to make her own choices. Caught in the middle is their mother, Shireen. Mitra goes to her parents’ home because she feels sorry for her mother.

The prevalent themes are sexual abuse, infidelity, class differences and the search for freedom and independence. This is very slow-moving and certain things are not resolved at the end. I didn’t find Mitra to be likable, but I did like her mother.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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This was a slow (in a good way), captivating read. It’s the late 1990’s, and Mitra is headed home to New Jersey to observe the Iranian custom of “The One Year” anniversary of her sister’s death.  Mitra has a very complicated relationship with her family— her father refuses to acknowledge her existence after she made it very clear that she had no intentions of becoming a tradition Iranian mother.
There are so many layers here.  In the Time of Our History explores grief, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, sisters, extended family relationships, romantic relationships, culture— it’s definitely a book to take your time reading.
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In the Time Of Our History is a precisely rendered family saga that offers a satisfying peek into the Iranian-American diaspora. Moving swiftly through various points of view, the story sets off when Mitra reluctantly returns to New Jersey where her Iranian-American parents are marking the one-year anniversary of the sudden death of Mitra’s younger sister Anahita. During the trip, Mitra discovers her sister’s secret past while dealing with her father’s patriarchal cruelty, her mother’s powerlessness and her own grief. What emerges is a portrait not just of one family, but of a whole generation of immigrants who, unable to return to their tumultuous country, cling to its traditions, afraid to allow their children to choose their own path. 
Pari has an amazing eye for detail which she weaves into a thrilling tapestry reflecting an entire culture.
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Thank you to Susanne Pari and NetGalley for a gifted advanced digital copy to read of IN THE TIME OF OUR HISTORY. 

A year after her younger sister's death, Mitra returns home to her parents in observance of a traditional Iranian custom. What ensues is basically a lot of family drama, spiced with the depth and beauty of Iranian custom and Persian history.

I DNFed this book at 63%.

I found the style so difficult to read. My biggest frustration had to do with the treatment of time. It favors interspersing back story throughout the narrative,  rather than alternating timelines or delivering big sections of back story all at once. This approach is typically my preference also, but it lingers too long in the past, whenever it takes the reader there. Then, in returning to the present moment in the narrative, the transitions are always quite rough.

I often felt disoriented in this story. As it was, I couldn't connect enough to have any interest in the characters or their outcomes.

Recommend? Yes, as I think it's a "me" thing.
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This is a book with a lot of heart and I think it will really appeal to fans of novels about complicated, dysfunctional families. There were some parts of it that I found inexpert - some characters didn’t feel totally fleshed out; there’s a plot introduced abruptly at the end which was a bit jarring; the emotional arcs were generally predictable; there are some annoying anachronisms like a character accusing another of gaslighting him… in 1998. One of my biggest pet peeves is novels set in the near-ish past which don’t really do anything with that setting. I want all the little details that really make this feel like the late 90s! A character watching a TLC show that didn’t premier until 2010 does the exact opposite - it totally takes me out of that setting. Why set the book in 1998 if you want your main character to watch Hoarders: Buried Alive? Petty, I know, but it makes me wonder where the editor was!

However, the women at the heart of the novel are really strong, complex characters. Mitra and her mother Shireen are frustrating at times because they are imperfect, but they are tested and they grow from their hardships. One of the things I liked best was the headstrong Mitra’s discovery that her late sister was not simply docile, meek, and subservient as she had assumed all her life. There is a lot of nuance in the portrayal of Mitra and Shireen’s grief and the way it changes them.

For me, the book lacked subtext. I’m not a huge fan of being spoon-fed the meaning of every interaction. I like some ambiguity and the ability to read between the lines. I would say that this one is pretty simple in terms of the meaning and message, though the protagonists are complexly drawn. I enjoyed my time with this novel and I can see myself recommending it to a lot of people. I just don’t think it’s outstanding when you consider how many novels have the basic premise of a dysfunctional family excavating their past.
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Beautifully written a story of the life of Iranian Americans a look at the dynamics the struggles of one family.The author brings us into their world their culture.and the family issues..I really was absorbed in their lives and enjoyed learning about their culture.I will be recommending this book and this author.#netgalley #kensingtonbooks.
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I wanted to read this book because I have a great interest in the immigrant experience in American and this book gives a very beautifully written peak and the life of one Iranian family and the suffering of each character. It started a little slow for me, but once you yield to the graceful pace of this book, you find yourself almost living in San Francisco with Mitra and the family she ends up creating. The author herself is Iranian American which adds authenticity to the story which I do believe is important. Some older readers will recall the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and understand how it impacted the different generations.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. It is a great addition to literature that features the immigrant story.
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Terrific read about an Iranian American family.  Set around the one year anniversary of Anahita and her children in a traffic accident,  it's very much about secrets and grief.  Mitra has moved from New Jersey to California and made a new life- she's estranged from her father but never from her mother or from Ana.   Her partner Jeremy, a physician, is pushing her for a bigger relationship than she's prepared to have, she's got refugees from Iran - a mother and daughter- living her in basement, and she's feeling tremendously guilty.  Her trip home blows up and she also learns surprising things about Ana.  And she's compelled to tell her mother a secret she kept for Ani over the years, a secret which her mother had blown off but which even Mitra didn't fully understand.  This is a sprawling novel, with multiple themes but it's very much focused on family,. including the family we make.  If I have a quibble it's that one of the plot lines- the woman Olga wants rescued from Iran- is a little hazy and frankly unnecessary.  Multiple people have their say, although Mitra is the dominant character.  There are layers to this and tentacles but it's rich with culture and emotion.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Highly recommend.
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A beautifully written book which explores the complex relationships of an extended Iranian-American family following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Rich in story, emotions, culture, and with very well written characters, this book both held my heart, and taught me much.

A wonderful read, please don't miss it!

My thanks to Kensington publishers for allowing me to read an ARC of the book via NetGalley. The book is scheduled to be published on 1/3/23. All opinions in this review are my own and are freely given.
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Like the title, this book is just a little longwinded and off the mark.  An interesting cultural study, but the narrative drags and meanders.  I did not finish this one.
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Susanne Pari's forthcoming novel grabbed me immediately with its layered portrayal of grief. The detail throughout the book is heightened, imaginative, itself enough to propel the entire reading experience. The novel begins in 1998 with 40-year-old Mitra Jahani flying from San Francisco to New Jersey for the one-year anniversary of her beloved younger sister Anahita’s death, along with her two young children, in a car accident. Mitra has been estranged from her father, while keeping contact with her mother and sister, for nearly two decades. Her father is an imposing patriarch who provides for the extended family and set a condition that Anahita could only marry if the fiercely independent Mitra did as well; to preserve her independence, she waited until both engagements were announced and then obtained a tubal ligation, rendering herself unmarriageable. Traveling back, Mitra has to navigate a complex web of family politics, complicated by Iranian politics, all while kneecapped by grief and discovering the complexities—and sorrows—of her sweet younger sister’s life.

It’s hard to get too deep into this book without spoilers, and one of the things I enjoyed most about it was how it kept surprising me—not just with plot details, but by the ways it zoomed across time, space, and perspective. At its heart are relationships between brilliant, complex women who fight against patriarchy, endure abuse and grief. I did feel like things got a bit muddled at the end, with the introduction of a new character who didn’t quite get their due, but overall it was still beautiful and cathartic. I highly recommend this if you love family sagas, thinking about immigration and generational change, or want to process anger or grief. These are characters—especially the abrasive yet compassionate Mitra—I loved spending time with in a richly drawn world.
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Influenced by the author’s family’s experiences following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this story takes place among a community of Iranian immigrants in 1990s New Jersey.  In a culture and generation where traditional gender roles are set in stone and women are subjugated to men, Mitra, because of a  decision she made, is cut off by her father and living in California.  When she returns for the one year anniversary of the tragic death of her sister, niece, and nephew, secrets are revealed and life altering events are set in place.

The author has a beautiful way with words as she weaves this tale of the immigrant experience.  There is joy, sadness, tension, anger, growth, and evolution.  A touching, poignant read specific to an Iranian American family; I think most of us can find something with which to relate in this realistic portrait of a family grappling with cultural and generational differences.   And don’t be surprised if you have a hankering for an expertly brewed cup of tea while reading.

A five star read that I think would be a good addition to any book club’s reading list.
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This story started out very slow. and was hard to get into. There wasn't a lot going on and the characters didn't seem very likable. The whole first part of the book was hard to read because the topics were so disturbing. I'm glad I stuck it out because once I got past that, I really enjoyed the second half of it. I understand how the first part was necessary to get there. I really liked the last part of the book.
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