A Mirror Garden: A Memoir (Vintage)


by: Farmanfarmaian, Monir
Format: Paperback

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Product Description In Persia in 1924, when a child still had to worry about hostile camels in the bazaar and a nanny might spin stories at her pillow until her eyes fell shut, the extraordinary and irresistible Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born. From the enchanted basement storeroom where she played as a girl to the penthouse high above New York City where she would someday live, this is the delightful and inspiring story of her life as an artist, a wife and mother, a collector, and an Iranian. Here we see a mischievous girl become a spirited woman who defies tradition. Both a love story and a celebration of the warmth and elegance of Iranian culture, A Mirror Garden is a genuine fairy tale of an exuberant heroine who has never needed rescuing. Review “Captivating. . . . Farmanfarmaian's sumptuously detailed recollections are a rare, insidery look at two lost worlds.” — Vogue“ A Mirror Garden introduces the captivating story of a unique artist. Monir's art is beguiling, and so is the story of how she came to be a creator and collector of beautiful things.” —Her Majesty Queen Noor“[Farmanfarmaian's] graceful memoir maps an intrepid trajectory.” — The New Yorker“Delightful. . . . Atimeless and very timely memoir of home and self-identity.” — The San Francisco Chronicle About the Author Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born in 1924. She now lives and works in New York. Zara Houshmand is an Iranian American writer and theater artist. She lives in Austin, Texas. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Chapter OneThe evening sun was melting through the stained-glass windows when my nanny spread the bedding out on the carpets. Nanny was old and, under her scarf, completely bald. I had seen her in the bathhouse, bald as an egg. She was beautiful nonetheless, with white skin and big, deep blue eyes, like the china doll my father had brought my sister all the way from Russia when the czar was still king. My grandfather had fallen in love with Nanny, the other servants whispered, but what could they know? They took turns falling in love with her themselves. But I knew that she loved her cats best of all, and everyone else would have to wait in line.I pulled my quilt a safe distance from my brother Hassan, so he couldn’t steal it after wetting his own, and stared at the ceiling to calm my excitement as I waited for Nanny’s story to begin. Lines of gold and black traced nightingales and roses on wooden panels of cobalt blue, the color of the night sky. I followed the winding stems of the roses across my wooden sky and counted the nightingales one by one, until Nanny spread her skirts on the carpet beside me and began.“Once upon a time there was, or maybe there wasn’t, a girl who was just as big as you are now. She was dark-skinned and not very pretty, and oh! she was trouble, as naughty as a girl could be.”“They cut off her head,” Hassan decided summarily.“Who’s telling this story? No, she kept her head, and a good thing too, because she had to be very clever to get out of all the trouble she got into after she fell down the well.”For seven nights I lived with the fear that met the trouble-prone heroine at the bottom of that dark well. Each night I followed her into another of seven dark rooms. Each room lay behind a locked door that needed its own key, and each of the keys was held by a different jinn, or worse: a bear, a giant, a tiger. The tiger was the worst of all. When I could not bear it any longer, I dashed downstairs, across the courtyard, around the pool, taking a shortcut through the flower beds and down the stairs to the toilet. The tiger waited for me to finish and pull up my pants: it crouched on top of the wall at the far end of the courtyard, ready to spring. Its muscles rippled silver in the moonlight, just like the silver circles spreading slowly over the courtyard pool. I stopped in my tracks before risking one terrified step, then another. The tiger waited still, as inscrutable a


Product Code: 9780307278784
ISBN: 0307278786
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2008-08-12
Number of Pages: 322 pages
Languages: english
Edition: Illustrated
Dimension: 5.2 x 0.87 x 8.11 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.71 pounds