Zara Houshmand

A Mirror Garden

“This graceful memoir maps an intrepid trajectory.”

—The New Yorker

“Captivating … Farmanfarmaian’s sumptuously detailed recollections are a rare, insidery look at two lost worlds.”

—Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“Some people have the magic touch. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian seems to be one of them … Full of many delightful anecdotes … A Mirror Garden is a story about the different aspects of one person—a woman who is a wife, a mother and an artist … It is also a timeless and very timely memoir of home and self-identity.”

—June Sawyers, San Francisco Chronicle

“She has not allowed the past to either trap her in nostalgia or corner her into defensive bitterness. In every world she has traveled, she has never been petty … She labels one of her photographs … “A Woman in Full.” The reader will come away from these pages agreeing wholeheartedly.”

—Roger Gathman, Austin American-Statesman

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian at the Guggenheim: Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings, 1974–2014

New York Times: Monir Farmanfarmaian, 96, Dies; Artist Melded Islam and the Abstract

When Monir first asked me to tell her story, I was inspired that this brilliant artist and adventurous, keen-eyed, free spirit could smash the Western stereotypes of Middle-Eastern women. I longed to tap into my own memories of Iran, where I had traveled in Monir’s footsteps, and to open doors to the stunning beauty and warmth of a culture that has been demonized.

   It was the first of a very few collaborative memoirs that I have worked on. Each has been a unique exercise in deep empathy, an intimate process of immersion in another person’s experience as I learn to write in their voice. Each has been a transformative mind-meld of an education. 

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