A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea

Dina Nayeri. Riverhead, $26.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-59448-704-0
This ambitious novel set in northern Iran in the decade after the 1979 revolution contains not a teaspoon but a ton of history, imagination, and longing. Beginning with the 1981 disappearance of 11-year-old Saba Hafezi’s twin sister, Mahtab, and their mother, Khanom, Nayeri interweaves Saba’s family trauma as seen through the eyes of the women of her seaside village, along with fantasies about Mahtab’s teenage fascination with everything American, shared by her friends Reza and Ponneh. Saba loves Reza, but allows herself to be married off to old Abbas Hossein Abbas, expecting to eventually gain freedom by becoming a rich widow. The characters’ dreams are shattered, however, amid rising violence, as beautiful Ponneh is beaten for wearing red high-heels, Saba is violently attacked by two chador-clad women working for her husband and the new regime, and another woman is hanged for defying the new Islamic norms. Saba’s first tentative protests give way to more drastic decisions as the realities of postrevolution Iran and the truth about her mother and sister sink in. Nayeri crams so much into her story, especially Saba’s distracting fiction of her sister’s life in the United States, that her lyrical evocation of a vanishing Iran gets lost in an irritating narrative tangle. Agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 01/31/2013
Show other formats
Paperback - 469 pages - 978-1-59463-232-7
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4708-4822-4
Hardcover - 430 pages - 978-1-74343-373-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4708-4819-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4708-4818-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-4708-4816-3
Book - 978-1-4708-4820-0
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.