A debut memoir recounts the struggles of an immigrant to the United States from Iran.
In 1986, at the age of 22, Bolourian ran his own boutique in Mashhad, one of the biggest cities in Iran. A self-styled, middle-class playboy, he listened to underground music and practiced martial arts in his spare time. Iran was deeply engaged in a long and tortuous war with Iraq. Bolourian decided, due to the privations and difficulties brought on by the conflict, that he would escape to Turkey. So began the many travails shared in this slim book. At one point, the author encountered a family “friend” while walking back to his hotel in Turkey, who turned out to want revenge on Bolourian for some slight done to him by a family member. “It was about midnight,” the author writes. “I was depressed and still wide awake when suddenly someone knocked on the door.” Thinking his girlfriend, Melody, was outside, the author was shocked to see it was the police, who then dragged him off to jail. Bolourian does a good job of re-creating the sense of desperation, claustrophobia, and filth of the dark underworld in which he found himself imprisoned. While his sentences often omit definite or indefinite articles, a typical error of a non-native English writer/speaker, the volume recounts with cleareyed passion the author’s continual suffering as he was returned to Iran. Revolutionary Guards confined him to an Iranian prison and he was conscripted to fight for his country against the Iraqis. After all his jail time, serving in the Iranian military seemed like a piece of cake to Bolourian. While the author shares little introspection on the meaning of his torturous journey, he reveals his genuine gratitude when at long last he comes to live in the United States. This, unfortunately, is a timely story, as scores of refugees have had to flee war and devastating social conditions to seek havens—only to find all too little to comfort them in their adversity and distress.
An engrossing tale of an Iranian entrepreneur’s hardships and misadventures as he made his way to America.