Books by Gina B. Nahai

THE LUMINOUS HEART OF JONAH S. by Gina B. Nahai
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"Nahai's boisterous, sardonic, sometimes-lurid portrait of a community and the devil in its midst offers unusual, engrossing storytelling."
An energetically inventive epic, wrapped in a murder mystery, paints a broad picture of rapaciousness and revenge within the Iranian Jewish community of Los Angeles. Read full book review >
SUNDAY’S SILENCE by Gina B. Nahai
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"Well intentioned, though the tale—partly of Appalachia, partly of Middle East—loses more strength than it gains through being double-stranded."
A sensitive if uncompelling exploration of cultural alienation: an abandoned son searches for understanding and redemption after his snake-handling father is fatally bitten. Read full book review >
MOONLIGHT ON THE AVENUE OF FAITH by Gina B. Nahai
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1999

Nahai (Cry of the Peacock, 1991) revisits Iran's Jewish community as she tells the moving if not always engrossing tale of one woman's struggle in a time of political turmoil. The saga of Roxanna begins in 1938 with her birth in Tehran's ghetto, and ends in 1980s Los Angeles. It is as much the story of a family increasingly affected by outside events as it is a low-key exploration of the conflict between destiny and choice. Nahai cuts early to the past, as the now-adult Lili recalls how, as a five-year-old, she saw her mother, Roxanna, grow wings and fly away. (Other clumsy flirtations with magical realism include sunflowers that give off light, sorrow that turns into body fat, and white feathers found after dreams of flight.) Warned that she is the "bad-luck one," the eight-year-old Roxanna is given away to Alexandra, an eccentric Russian refugee. After Alexandra's death, Roxanna flees the ghetto, but finds herself trapped by love in a house on the "Avenue of Faith." The house belongs to wealthy Teymur and his scheming wife, FrÑulein Claude; Roxanna marries their son Sohrab in order to be close to Teymur, whom she really loves. When their affair is discovered, she's kept a prisoner in the house, and in desperation runs away, leaving Lili behind. Working first as a prostitute and then as kitchen help in Turkey, Sohrab sends Lili to school in Los Angeles. Then, as the Islamic revolution begins, Roxanna's sisters flee to L.A.—where Lili, still mourning her mother, is unwillingly united with them, and eventually even with Roxanna, now bloated with sorrow and regret. Lots of action, local color, and adventure, but not enough to give Roxanna's story the impact it demands. (First printing of 35,000; author tour) Read full book review >