‘I sat stunned, gripping the photograph between my thumb and forefinger, unable to look away. I was sitting in my mother’s house, a house to which I’d never imagined I’d return. It was late in the afternoon, five weeks after my father’s funeral; I was helping her go through his things and this photograph had fallen from a stack of letters whose Persian script my eyes could no longer follow. A photograph hidden, forgotten, and now found.
Iranians would likely shrug at such a discovery, life their eyes towards the heavens, and sum up its meaning as qesmet, or destiny. This was a word I’d hear often in the days following my father’s death.
Over the year The Good Daughter became a taunt, a warning, an omen. When I spoke immodestly, when I wore my skirts too short or let boys flirt with me, I was not my mother’s real daughter, her Good Daughter. “If you become like the girls here,” She’d say. “I’ll go back to Iran to live with my Good Daughter.”
The good Daughter I knew back then was just a story she’d made up to scare me and make me into a good daughter, too.’
Ms Darznik was born in Tehran and received her Ph.D in English from Princeton University and MFA in Fiction from Bennington College. This is her first book and has already been translated in eight languages.
This memoir is my recommended read for the month of May. Enjoy!!
DARZNIK, Jasmin., The Good Daughter. London: William Heinemann. 2011. 324 pp. (non-fiction)