Khomeini, Sade and Me
by Abnousse Shalmani
Translated from the French by Charlotte Coombe | Published by World Editions, May 2016
Tehran, 1983. Six-year-old Abnousse Shalmani rebels for the first time against the Ayatollah Khomeini by running naked through the school playground. Frank, provocative, intelligent, and lively: this is a woman who refuses to be veiled or silenced. Leaving Iran is the only option for her family: but once in exile, she soon discovers that Paris has its very own ‘Beards’ and ‘Crows’ to deal with. Following the publication of Salman Rushdie´s Satanic Verses the veil is at the centre of all debates. Reading is her rebellion, and as she grows up, she ardently pursues her freedom through French literature, empowered by the writings of the Marquis de Sade. Freedom comes with recognising the power of the written word. From Colette to Victor Hugo, from Simone de Beauvoir to Pierre Louÿs, this is an extraordinary book about books, a story of resistance to oppression, and a passionate call for the right to sexual and intellectual freedom.
‘Khomeini, Sade and Me is pure combat literature which, in the name of enlightenment and joy, overthrows old moral dictates with big, bold laughter and decisively places the female body at the heart of public space.’—Le Monde
‘Beautiful and powerful. The style of writing, by turns modern and classic, will strongly appeal to literature lovers. Indeed, anyone who is astonished at the status of women in Islam (and within religion in general) should read this fictionalized memoir immediately.’—Parutions