Iranian Jewish author Gina B. Nahai is perhaps one of the most well known and successful writers in our community having penned a series of fictional novels that give a unique perspective into the world of Iranian Jews. Yesterday I had the special opportunity to meet Nahai and attend a book signing for her latest published novel “Caspian Rain”. Without giving away the entire story, the novel focuses on the life of a young Iranian Jewess living in Iran before the 1979 revolution and dealing with her parents’ crumbling marriage. The novel also gives a rare glimpse into the taboo topic in the Iranian Jewish community of intermarriage with Muslims.
What I really enjoy about Nahai’s works is the fact that she is able effectively reveal the intricate mentalities and norms of Iranian Jews that not very many people know about. Our community is very tight-knit and typically closed off to outsiders for whatever reason, so having an insider like Nahai share details about us can be quite educational. I think younger Jews of Iranian heritage will also enjoy “Caspian Rain” because it gives them an idea about the lives of Jews in Iran before the 1979 revolution which they may have not otherwise known about.
By the way, for those who are unfamiliar with Nahai, her books have received wide acclaim by critics and her first novel Cry of the Peacock even won the Los Angeles Arts Council Award for Fiction. Her works have been translated into more than dozen other languages and are used for teaching in universities worldwide. She is a regular contributor to the Jewish Journal of Greater L.A. as well. Those interested in Nahai’s other works should visit her site: http://ginabnahai.com/
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