Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hooman Majd's "The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay"

Hooman Majd was born in Tehran, Iran in 1957, and lived abroad from infancy with his family who were in the diplomatic service. He attended boarding school in England and college in the United States, and stayed in the U.S. after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Majd had a long career in the entertainment business before devoting himself to writing and journalism full-time. He worked at Island Records and Polygram Records for many years, with a diverse group of artists, and was head of film and music at Palm Pictures, where he produced The Cup and James Toback's Black and White.

His books include The Ayatollah Begs to Differ (2008) and The Ayatollahs’ Democracy (2010).

Majd applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran, and reported the following:
Page 99 is probably for many readers somewhat representative of the story my book tells---it is subtitled "An American Family in Iran," after all---and deals with what almost any parent, anywhere in the world, is most concerned with: the health of their child. A regular visit to the pediatrician, a normal and necessary occurrence at home, is viewed somewhat differently when one is abroad, but that is just one small detail, revealing as it might be, of a culture both alien and sometimes familiar.

The book is nominally about exactly that: a family, thoroughly Western, uprooted and living in a country most Westerners know little, or nothing about. But unlike Westerners living in the East, I am bi-cultural, and although I never experienced living in Iran as an adult (not even as a teenager), my closeness to the culture---along with my spouse's and son's distance from it---are what made me want to experience life among the Persians and to write about Iran from a different perspective. While page 99 is representative of the book in that it is a descriptive entry, the book, at least to me, is much more about the concept of 'home', and what it means to a bi-cultural person. And, of course, it is about my people, and not just the "American family."
Learn more about the book and author at Hooman Majd's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.

Writers Read: Hooman Majd (October 2010).

The Page 99 Test: The Ayatollahs' Democracy.

--Marshal Zeringue