Unveiled: One Woman's Nightmare in Iran

Overview

She was trapped behind the veil of hell

Attractive exucated in Oxdord, and a respected journalist, Cherry Mosteshar seemed the last woman likely to become a terrified Islamic bride; beaten if a wisp of hair showed from beneath her head scarf, forbidden from leaving the country without her husband's permission, and legally worth half a man.

A nightmare world of violence and degradation

But Cherry wanted to ...

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Overview

She was trapped behind the veil of hell

Attractive exucated in Oxdord, and a respected journalist, Cherry Mosteshar seemed the last woman likely to become a terrified Islamic bride; beaten if a wisp of hair showed from beneath her head scarf, forbidden from leaving the country without her husband's permission, and legally worth half a man.

A nightmare world of violence and degradation

But Cherry wanted to returned to the homeland she knew as a child. Filled with ideals and longings, she hoped to help the fundamentalist-ruled national to enter the twentieth century. Instead, she ended up a virtual slave in a nation where a woman constantly experiences fear and degradation.

Now her true story can finally be told

This is Cherry's true story—from her arrival into a monstrous marriage where she became just one of her husband's wives, to her harrowing years as a victim of his sexual whims and his violent outbursts, to her heroic struggle to maintain her identiy while a prisoner stripped of all rights and dignity, to her plight as a terrified victim ready to do anything to save her own life and escape...

This harrowing story of life in modern Iran is told from the unique perspective of a foreign journalist and Islamic bride. Mosteshar returned from Oxford to her homeland of Iran with the aim of explaining her country to the world. But when the religious revolution transformed the country into a conservative Islamic state, she was thrust into the frightening life in Iran under the mullahs. of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A hard-to-put-down account." —Kirkus Reviews

"Gripping, unforgettable." —Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although born in Iran, Mosteshar, a journalist who has worked as a correspondent for leading British periodicals, was educated at Oxford. On periodic visits to her homeland, she lived as a member of Iran's wealthy elite until the Shah was overthrown in 1979. This anecdotal and somewhat disjointed memoir describes the changes that took place after the religious revolution, both in her personal life and in the lives of Iranian women. Initially sympathetic to the goal of revolutionary forces to address the needs of the poor, Mosteshar became disillusioned when her father was called a CIA agent, her personal fortune was confiscated and women's civil rights were stripped away. For reasons the author does not make clear, she married a poor Iranian who stole her money, raped her and lied about his divorce from his first wife, whom Mosteshar supported financially. After much hardship, she escaped from this relationship and now lives in England, fearing retribution should she return to Iran. Photos not seen by PW. Mar.
Library Journal
Like Sattarah Farman Farmaian's Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution (LJ 1/92), this autobiographical account depicts the social conditions of women in Iran. Both Farmaian and Mosteshar, raised in the genteel society of rich Persian families, found it easy to adapt to the Westernized Iran of the Shah. However, on returning from England after the coming of the Ayatollahs, Mosteshar was unable to respect the pious hypocrisy or function as a chattel whose every move was controlled by men, when even a wisp of hair peeking from beneath a head scarf might invoke a beating from the Morals Police. Though critical of the ridiculous rules and the plight of women in this society, Mosteshar also falls into the trap of becoming second wife to an unadulterated boor. At times amusing, this book sometimes seems to border on fiction. Recommended for popular collections.-Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Libs., Gainesville
Kathleen Hughes
This gripping, unforgettable work by journalist Mosteshar provides a firsthand account of a woman's life in conservative, Islamic Iran." "Born in Iran but schooled in the West, Mosteshar returned after the revolution to report on her native country for the foreign press. What she found was shocking to her; she describes how a woman is required to wear a full-length body covering (the chador) or be branded a whore, how a woman is worth only half a man, how a woman must have written permission from her father or husband to travel, how her children belong to her for only the first seven years of their lives. And she writes of the devastating effect that this loss of personal freedom has had on Iranian women." "It was during the course of her reporting on the Iranian government that Mosteshar began to question aloud Islamic laws regarding women. After she was nearly arrested and considered returning to the West, she met an Iranian man who seemed to be on her side. It was only after she married him that she discovered his true misogynistic nature, and it was only after fleeing Iran that she escaped from that particular nightmare.
Booknews
An aesthetically minded anthropological study documenting the lives of independent loggers in Orofino, Idaho, distinguishing itself by avoiding stereotypes and rhetoric and concentrating instead on the community's attitudes. James-Duguid interviews town elders, loggers, and residents about their private lives, community activities, and daily work patterns, discovering a town that is proud, hard working, and concerned with the environment from which it derives its livelihood. Includes photographs and illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A talky, untidy, but nevertheless hard-to-put-down account of what happens when an expatriate journalist from a fabulously wealthy Iranian family resettles in her homeland to write about life under Islamic rule.

As a woman, Mosteshar must wear the chador, or veil, plus trousers and coat in even sweltering weather to prevent any chink of female hair or flesh from showing, in conformity with endless (and changeable) social and religious codes. In her various quests to obtain a press card, get medical care for her relatives, and ultimately marry and divorce, she must deal with a bureaucracy corrupt beyond Kafka's wildest nightmares. Undeterred by the miserable examples of her female relatives, the wives of boors who, according to Mosteshar, use the Koran as a sanction to abuse and humiliate, she too, marries a boor—this one with another wife and family he requires her to both countenance and financially support. Her motives for marrying this man against her own better judgment are never made explicit. Naturally, the marriage is a disaster. Being Iranian, for Mosteshar, becomes a kind of gruesome psychological affliction: The good Muslim wife that she, despite her Oxford education, strives to be is, by Western standards, a victim of masochism and delusion. Finally, she does rouse herself to begin the difficult process of regaining her freedom and repairing her damaged self. Although the book contains much interesting information—we learn of the seegeh, or temporary marriage (basically legalized adultery), the "morals police," and constant body searches—and often a comic tone, Mosteshar has evidently not awakened completely enough from her nightmare to tell her story with much perspective: There are far too many repeated assertions of how much she hated her husband and how disgusting his sexual advances and gobs of spit were.

Overall, reading Unveiled, it's hard not to see today's Iran as a vast, ugly tragedy for women.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312962883
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/1997
  • Series: Unveiled Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.78 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2001

    Shocking, sobering, mind-boggling and sad.

    A decent book to read, if you are interested in modern Iran and it's people. I often wondered why Cherry (the main character of the book) - otherwise intelligent and well educated - seemed so ignorant of Iran, it's culture, religion and local practices. Perhaps it was her elitist (and almost royal) uprbinging in a wealthy and westernized family, that led to most of her troubles, after she returned 'home' as a journalist - covering Iran for the western news media.

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