“Concealed”— Memoir of a Jewish/Iranian Daughter Caught Between the Chador and America
September 10 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmSuggested Donation: $18
Virtual event facilitated by Elana Storch
ABOUT THE BOOK: Esther Amini grew up in Queens, New York during the freewheeling 1960s. She also grew up in a Persian-Jewish household, the American-born daughter of parents who had fled Mashhad, Iran. In Concealed, she tells the story of being caught between these two worlds: the dutiful daughter of tradition-bound parents who hungers for more self-determination than tradition allows. Exploring the roots of her father’s deep silences and explosive temper, her mother’s flamboyance and flights from home, and her own sense of indebtedness to her Iranian-born brothers, Amini uncovers the story of her parents’ early years in Mashhad, Iran’s holiest Muslim city; the little-known history and historic persecution of underground Jews in this ancestral homeland; the incident that steeled her mother’s resolve to leave; and her parents’ arduous journey to the U.S., where they faced a new threat to their traditions: the threat of freedom.
Determined to protect his daughter from corruption, Amini’s father prohibits talk, books, education, and pushes an early Persian marriage instead. Can she resist? Should she? Focused intently on what she stands to gain, Amini comes to see what she also stands to lose: a family and community bound together by food, celebrations, sibling escapades, and unexpected acts of devotion by parents to whom she feels invisible.
In this poignant, funny, entertaining, and uplifting memoir, Amini documents with a keen eye, quick wit, and warm heart how family members build, buoy, wound, and save one another across generations; how lives are shaped by the demands and burdens of loyalty and legacy; and how she rose to the challenge of deciding what to keep and what to discard.
ABOUT THE BOOK/SPEAKER:
Esther Amini is a writer, painter, and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice. Her short stories have appeared in Elle, Lilith, Tablet, The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, TK University’s Inscape Literary, and Proximity. She was named one of Aspen Words’ two best-emerging memoirists and awarded its Emerging Writer Fellowship in 2016 based on her memoir entitled: “Concealed.” Her pieces have been performed by Jewish Women’s Theatre in Los Angeles and in Manhattan, and was chosen by JWT as their Artist-in-Residence in 2019.