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AN IRANIAN ODYSSEY by Gohar Kordi

AN IRANIAN ODYSSEY

By Gohar Kordi

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-85242-213-0
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

 A searing memoir of growing up blind, as Kordi, born in Iran, recalls with quiet but heartfelt passion the devastating hardships she surmounted to become one of the first women graduates of the University of Tehran. Born into a peasant family, Kordi, now married and a mother, lost her sight at the age of four as the result of an infection for which she wasn't properly treated--because she was a girl. Her parents, an ill-matched couple (her father was a Turk, her mother a Kurd), didn't get along, which only aggravated the family's already difficult life. Food was always short, and what little money there was came from weaving carpets and taking care of the landlord's herds. In a society that despised women, Kordi was already at a disadvantage: Her mother neglected her; and when, hoping to find work, the family moved to the slums of Tehran, Kordi was made to sit on the sidewalk and beg. Frustrated and angered by her family's cruel treatment--only her father showed some tenderness--Kordi despaired of escaping what seemed an increasingly doomed situation. But she was a child of remarkable intelligence and initiative, and, persuading a neighbor to write to a popular radio show that dealt with people's problems, she began slowly to climb out of poverty and the intellectual isolation her blindness had imposed. Accepted at a boarding school for the blind, Gohar excelled to such a degree that she became the first blind student to be accepted at the University of Tehran. She graduated in 1970, with a BA in psychology. As much a moving account of a heroic personal struggle as a telling indictment of a society in which being female was almost as disabling as being blind. Stirring reading.