Journalist & author of The Fortune Catcher, a novel set during the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Book reviewer, essayist, interviewer.
From the Granular to the Sweeping: Reflecting on the Evolution of a Diaspora
by Susanne Pari, Center Volunteer Editor/Writer and Author of The Fortune Catcher
When I wrote my first novel, it was a labor born out of the traumatic aftermath of the 1979 Revolution. I was desperate to understand how and why it happened. Novels have always helped me make sense of the real world through the cinematic telling of an invented one. Writing stories is how I figure things out.
Recently, I went to a post-vaccination family get-together in New York. I have twenty-four Iranian first...
When she was 14, commentator Susanne Pari wanted to do the Ramadan fast with her father for the first time. She lasted only four days. She is no longer Muslim, but she looks back on that one fast as the time when she first got to know her father.
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'Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran,' by Laura Secor
'Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of...
'A Sliver of Light,' by Bauer, Fattal and Shourd - SFGate
'A Sliver of Light,' by Bauer, Fattal and Shourd - ...
'The Shah,' by Abbas Milani: biography review
Nearly every chapter in "The Shah," Abbas Milani's skillful biography of Iran's last king, begins with a phrase from Shakespeare's "King Richard II," about a tragic figure who believes he is...
'Patriot Acts,' edited by Alia Malek - SFGate
In the name of preventing terrorism, you have been terrorized by the very government you've trusted to protect you. Since the 2001 al Qaeda attacks, many Americans have come to accept that drastic measures are sometimes necessary to keep our society safe, even if those measures lead to a few injustices. Are you OK with solitary confinement, unrelenting interrogation, physical abuse, emotional blackmail, entrapment? Why ponder? Because we're Americans, and these ubiquitous counterterrorism measures are indisputably un-American. With "Patriot Acts," she creates a forum where innocent victims - ranging broadly in age, nationality, religion and race (including several white Americans) - show us how shockingly far we have strayed from the rights our Constitution claims are inalienable. "Patriot Acts" unmasks deep-rooted ignorance and fear on both sides: from immigrants who naively incriminate themselves or their loved ones to the accused expecting fair trials to police officers confused a
I’m not celebrating the election of the new ‘moderate’ president in Iran. I’m not even ‘cautiously optimistic,’ which has become a familiar phrase among pundits. I’ve been burned too often, not only a...
My father was a religious man, probably more religious than he would have been had he not emigrated from Iran and married an American woman. He carried the heavy responsibility of passing on beliefs a...
'Revolution 2.0,' by Wael Ghonim: review
The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power
By Wael Ghonim
Jan. 25 marks the one-year anniversary of Egypt's "Revolution Against Torture, Poverty, Corruption and Unemplo...
'Between Two Worlds,' by Roxana Saberi
Between Two Worlds
My Life and Captivity in Iran
(Harper; 321 pages; $25.99)
In 2009, behind the walls of Iran's notorious Evin Prison, American journalist Roxana Saberi confessed to being a CIA spy o...
A sense of promise
We all know what it feels like to want something you can't have. One spends a great deal of time lamenting on how green the grass was or could be. I once visited a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church in...
“The Walking” by Laleh Khadivi
I don’t believe in providence, so I’ll call it coincidence that brought me — in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings — to review Laleh Khadivi’s novel, The Walking, about two young Kurdish Ir...
'Nomad,' by Ayaan Hirsi Ali - SFGate
Yes, there are poignant personal tales of family and inspiring stories of Muslim immigrants grappling with the concepts of citizenship, individualism and money. Little more is needed for readers to grasp the nature of her message: that radical Islam is inherently misogynistic, violent and rigid; that its debilitating code of honor and shame can be mitigated only by the humanist values that grew out of Europe's Age of Enlightenment. [...] that Hirsi Ali is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where her job is "a cross between academic work and activism" - areas of focus that can turn a writer's creativity to ice - she feels duty-bound to offer and promote, in detail, wide-reaching solutions to the growing problem of radical Islam. [...] the essential narrative is interrupted by pages of political philosophy and policy, all intended to wean Muslims off the prayer rug. To stand silent as social workers or academics honor hijab or excision or Shariah law as "cultural traditions that m