Minou, a young girl just graduating from high school in the last days of the Shah's Iran, is magically and unaccountably (to her) picked by one of her teachers, Javad Partovi, as his romantic interest. And though Minou--daughter of a lawyer, sensitive, interested in writing--has seen few marital prospects that intrigued her, Javad is another story: like her, he's literary, slightly rebellious; in fact, he seems to be her prince. So there's an engagement, followed by a very proper and formal marriage. The couple goes off to live in Javad's home of Abadan. But if Minou is happy enough at first--the luxuriousness of sex, of safety--she soon finds Javad a bit distant, distracted, preoccupied. Does this have something to do with his work on a dissident newspaper, hemmed-in on either side by the Shah's repression and the growing Islamic puritanism? Perhaps. Largely, however, Minou discovers that lavad's dislocation is sexual: he's having an affair with a friend's wife, and simply can't break it off. Hobbled by the parochial and provincial shackles put on women by her society, Minou is devastated: she has no place to go, doesn't know what to do. And Rachlin (Foreigner) tells her story with economy and suspensefulness, weaving strands of unstable political life and sexual secrecy--in a small, vivid closeup of life in Iran at that fateful hour, within a society that had become its own prisoner.