NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Finalist for the PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Audie Award in Biography/Memoir
This Random House Reader’s Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner!
“Remarkable . . . told with wry humor shorn of sentimentality . . . In the end, what sticks with the reader is an exuberant immigrant embrace of America.”—San Francisco Chronicle
In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.
Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.
In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).
Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.
Praise for Funny in Farsi
“Heartfelt and hilarious—in any language.”—Glamour
“A joyful success.”—Newsday
“What’s charming beyond the humor of this memoir is that it remains affectionate even in the weakest, most tenuous moments for the culture. It’s the brilliance of true sophistication at work.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Often hilarious, always interesting . . . Like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this book describes with humor the intersection and overlapping of two cultures.”—The Providence Journal
“A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love—of family, country, and heritage.”—Jimmy Carter
“Delightfully refreshing.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“[Funny in Farsi] brings us closer to discovering what it means to be an American.”—San Jose Mercury News
This lighthearted memoir chronicles the author's move from Iran to America in 1971 at age seven, the antics of her extended family and her eventual marriage to a Frenchman. The best parts will make readers laugh out loud, as when she arrives in Newport Beach, Calif.,"a place where one's tan is a legitimate topic of conversation." She is particularly good making gentle fun of her father, who loves Disneyland and once competed on the game show Bowling for Dollars. Many of the book's jokes, though, are groan inducing, as in,"the only culture that my father was interested in was the kind in yogurt." And the book is off-kilter structurally. After beginning with a string of amusing anecdotes from her family's first years stateside, one five-page chapter lurches from seventh grade in California to an ever so brief mention of the Iranian revolution, and then back to California, college and meeting her husband. In addition, while politics are understandably not Dumas's topic, the way she skates over the subject can seem disingenuous. Following the revolution, did her father really turn down the jobs offered to him in Iran only because"none were within his field of interest"? Despite unevenness, Dumas's first book remains a warm, witty and sometimes poignant look at cross-cultural misunderstanding and family life. Immigrants from anywhere are likely to identify with her chronicle of adapting to America.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An eye opener to the obstacles people face and very insightful I really enjoyed it and at times I had a really good laugh
Mandatory Summer Reading
This book was really interesting. It kept me entertained which made it that much easier to read. You don’t have to force yourself to read this book as you do for others.
Funny in Farsi
This was an informative, funny, at times heart-wrenching, and hard to put down easy read. Thank you for sharing your family’s life.