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Women Without Men

A Novel of Modern Iran

By Sharnush Parsipur, Preface by Shirin Neshat, Translated by Faridoun Farrokh

Publication Year: 2011

A modern literary masterpiece, Women Without Men creates an evocative and powerfully drawn allegory of life in contemporary Iran. Internationally acclaimed writer Sharnush Parsipur follows the interwoven destinies of five women-including a prostitute, a wealthy middle-aged housewife, and a schoolteacher-as they arrive by different paths to live together in a garden in Tehran. Shortly after the 1989 publication of Women Without Men in her native Iran, Parsipur was arrested and jailed for her frank and defiant portrayal of women's sexuality. This volume is the first author-approved translation of Women Without Men.

Published by: The Feminist Press

Front Cover

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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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p. iv-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-xii

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pp. 1-9

The orchard, vibrantly green and with adobe walls, backed up against the village at one end and bordered the river at the other. It was an orchard mostly of sweet and sour cherries. The villa, a mixture of rustic and urban architecture, sat in the middle of it. It had three rooms...

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pp. 10-23

After several days of doubt and hesitation Fa’iza made up her mind at four in the afternoon on August 5, 1953. Silence was no longer feasible. If she waited any longer everything would collapse. She’d better stand up in her own defense. Even so, despite the fact that she felt...

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Munis, Part One

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pp. 24-25

At four o’clock in the afternon on August 7, 1953, Munis was standing on the roof of the house watching the street below. She had not slept a wink for exactly fifty-six hours. Amir Khan had forbidden her to leave the house....

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Munis, Part Two

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pp. 26-29

At first Munis was dead. Or at least she thought she was. For the longest time she lay on the pavement, her eyes wide open. Gradually the blue of the sky darkened and tears began to flow down her face. She pressed on her eyes with her right hand and slowly rose to her feet. Her...

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Munis, Part Three

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pp. 30-45

Alia, hearing the sound of loud voices, entered the room. At the sight of Munis’s blood-spattered body and a bloody knife in Amir Khan’s hand, she screamed and fell to the floor in a swoon. By now Amir Khan had regained his composure enough to feel apprehensive. He gazed at...

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Mrs. Farrokhlaqa

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pp. 46-60

Farokhlaqa, fifty-one years old, but as beautiful and impeccably groomed as ever, lounged in an American- style rocking chair on the balcony. It was mid-spring and the air was redolent with the scent of citrus blossoms. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the fragrance....

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pp. 61-66

Zarinkolah was twenty-six and a prostitute. She lived at Golden Akram’s brothel in the city’s notorious red-light district. Akram, the madam, had seven gold teeth. That was why some people called her “Akram the Seven.”...

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Two Women on the Road

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pp. 67-70

At sunset two women, one twenty-eight and the other thirty-eight years old, both wearing chadors, were walking along the highway to Karadj. They were both virgins....

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Farrokhlaqa's Garden, Part One

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pp. 71-86

Farokhlaqa was sprawled in the back seat of the car. Ostovary, Mosayeb, and the driver were in the front. That is how they arrived at the gate of the garden at four in the afternoon. Ostovary was worried about his client’s reaction to the tree. Except for that, he had discussed all...

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Farrokhlaqa's Garden, Part Two

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pp. 87-102

By spring the garden had turned into a flower grove. The gardener was right; he did have a green thumb. All he did was touch a bush and it blossomed into a hundred flowers the following week....

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Mahdokht (Reprise)

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pp. 103-105

Mahdokht had planted herself on the riverbank in the fall. She suffered as the clay around her ankles hardened. The freezing rainstorms of the season tore her clothes to shreds. She was left dressed in tatters. She shivered incessantly until the winter frost froze her all...

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Fa'iza (Reprise)

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pp. 106-108

During autumn the city air was fresh. By late morning it was pleasant to take a walk in the streets. Almost every morning around eleven Fa’iza met Amir Khan for a stroll. She would arrive in Victory Square on the bus from Karadj and he would be there to meet her. He often...

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Munis (Reprise)

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pp. 109-110

Munis stayed behind to help the gardener for three months. Together they nurtured the tree with the milk from Zarrinkolah’s breasts. In the middle month of the spring the tree was adorned with magnificent flowers in bloom. One morning they found that the tree had turned...

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Mrs. Farrokhlaqa (Reprise)

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pp. 111-112

All winter Farokhlaqa stayed in the house she had rented in the city. The portraitist was almost a continuous presence in the house. He was twenty-five years old and full of dreams for his art—which he shared with Farrokhlaqa. An exhibition of his portrait and sketches of...

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Zarrinkolah (Reprise)

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pp. 113-114

Zarinkolah maried Kind Gardener and became pregnant. In time, she gave birth to a morning glory. She loved it as her own child. The morning glory flourished on the bank of the river....

Author's Note

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pp. 115-122

About the Feminist Press

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p. 123-123

E-ISBN-13: 9781558617599
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558617537

Page Count: 96
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: Second Edition

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