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Brown Album: Book summary and reviews of Brown Album by Porochista Khakpour

Brown Album

Essays on Exile and Identity

by Porochista Khakpour

Brown Album by Porochista Khakpour X
Brown Album by Porochista Khakpour
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  • Published in USA  May 2020
    240 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

From the much-acclaimed novelist and essayist, a beautifully rendered, poignant collection of personal essays, chronicling immigrant and Iranian-American life in our contemporary moment.

Novelist Porochista Khakpour's family moved to Los Angeles after fleeing the Iranian Revolution, giving up their successes only to be greeted by an alienating culture. Growing up as an immigrant in America means that one has to make one's way through a confusing tangle of conflicting cultures and expectations. And Porochista is pulled between the glitzy culture of Tehrangeles, an enclave of wealthy Iranians and Persians in LA, her own family's modest life and culture, and becoming an assimilated American. Porochista rebels--she bleaches her hair and flees to the East Coast, where she finds her community: other people writing and thinking at the fringes. But, 9/11 happens and with horror, Porochista watches from her apartment window as the towers fall. Extremism and fear of the Middle East rises in the aftermath and then again with the election of Donald Trump. Porochista is forced to finally grapple with what it means to be Middle-Eastern and Iranian, an immigrant, and a refugee in our country today.

Brown Album is a stirring collection of essays, at times humorous and at times profound, drawn from more than a decade of Porochista's work and with new material included. Altogether, it reveals the tolls that immigrant life in this country can take on a person and the joys that life can give.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In this wonderful essay collection, novelist Khakpour passionately and wittily explores the writing life and the Iranian-American experience...Lovers of the essay and those interested in immigrant literature will be particularly delighted, but any reader can enjoy Khakpour's passionate and enlightening work." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A collection of incisive essays about hyphenated identity...that detonate many notions of identity." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Emotions of sorrow, anger, and anxiety loom large in Khakpour's inner and outer experiences in America, but the humor in her reflections keep this book immune from wallowing. A triumphant entry in the personal essay canon." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Confusing, exhilarating, terrifying, sad, scary, magical...This book was balm to my Turkish-American soul, and to my cosmopolitan-writer-beyond-nationalism soul. Every page is overflowing with verve and insight and hilarity and brilliance and sadness and historical and cultural specificity. Porochista Khakpour is a treasure." - Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

"The legendary Porochista Khakpour has created a rigorous, poetic and biting exploration of what it means to be brown, Iranian, female and American in a United States that has spent the last few decades putting these identities under siege." - Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood, Brothers of the Gun with Marwan Hisham

"Splendidly elegant...A fluid collection of essays that reads like a memoir, it targets—with devastating precision—the internal conflicts, turmoil and sometime agony of being the 'other' in an America that has always been, and is perhaps more so today." - Hooman Majd, author of New York Times bestseller The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

"Brilliant....What I love most about Porochista Khakpour's writing is her voice: always direct, always passionate, always clear and brave, full of compassion and vulnerability, always open to the world. Brown Album is both a manifesto of survival and a lyric journey." - Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

The information about Brown Album shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Porochista Khakpour Author Biography

Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007) was a New York Times "Editor's Choice," Chicago Tribune "Fall's Best," and 2007 California Book Award winner. It also made the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing shortlist, the Dylan Thomas Prize long list, the Believer Book Award longlist, and many others.

Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, an NPR Best Book of 2014, one of Buzzfeed's 28 Best Books By Women in 2014, an Electric Literature Best Book of 2014, a Volume1 Brooklyn Favorite Book of 2014, a PopMatters Best Book of 2014, one of Refinery29's 2015 Books to Read in ...

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