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Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin – book cover, description, publication history. Rachlin, the author of five previous works of fiction, including the much acclaimed Foreigner, begins her story at the age of nine, when she was taken away from. —Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review “Nahid Rachlin has an intimate insider’s Bruce Allen, Chicago Tribune “Foreigner gently raises new as well as .

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin. Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin Goodreads Author. Paperbackpages. Published July 17th by W. Norton Company first published April 1st To see froeigner your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions fpreigner Foreignerplease sign up.

Book review — By Nahid Rachlin. FOREIGNER

Lists with This Book. Feb 15, Ashley rated it it was amazing. Every book I’ve read by Nahid Rachlin and as one of her editors, I’ve even read a couple books yet to be published transports me completely.

I don’t know if all these years of reading and editing and analyzing manuscripts has made it more difficult for me to be transported by fiction. But with Nahid Rachlin, I know that it’s due to the sheer beauty of her prose, the coolness, the clarity of her craftsmanship, the understated emotions, nahkd her spectacular eye for detail.

The pomegranat Every book I’ve read by Nahid Rachlin and as one of her editors, I’ve even read a couple books yet to be published transports me completely. The pomegranate trees, with fruit bursting on the branch to reveal jewel-like seeds. The gurgling waters of the joob. The fresh fruit in the bazaars piled high–glistening grapes, fresh dates, persimmons. Better than any other writer writing about Iran, or even any country in the region, Rachlin brings the everyday Iranian’s experience to light–men and women.

Naipul said of this book that it’s brilliant because it’s not overtly political–politics are not even mentioned–and that Rachlin’s understated prose provides the more powerful political statement. On the face of it, this is a story foreignner a women in transition, pulled to her homeland at a time of personal flux. She’s moved to the United Rachhlin, where she has a successful career as a fkreigner and is married to an American man who seems distant, changeable, cold.

She realizes, while visiting her father and his second wife, that her mother hadn’t just disappeared, as he’d always told her. Instead, she’d left the family for another man. Feri, the main character, eventually finds her mother in another town, and it’s this meeting that proves to be the catalyst for the rest of the novel.

But this is almost beside the point. It’s rare to find a writer these days who writes “quietly”–who doesn’t feel the need to cartwheel across the page, tap-dance through chapters, engage in a continual performance aimed at keeping the reader’s interest.

In Foreigner, and in all of Nahid Rachlin’s other work, the deep sense of place and a true sense of Iran and the elegant portrayal of women, in particular, haunts your days and nights in the most pleasant way imaginable.

View all 3 comments. Jan 05, Jane rated it it was amazing Shelves: The story of a westernized Iranian woman and how a trip back to Iran evokes such a powerful pull on her that it is as if she had never left. This was so evocative that I fully identified with the woman and understood her state of mind and her ultimate choice.


Sep 24, Jane Brant rated it really liked it. The struggle of cultures and one’s identity within those cultures plays the central canvas for this story of an Iranian woman educated in the US and married to an American. What did influence my overall impression of the book was that it was written in the late 70s when the restrictions on women were not as rigid as they are now under fundamentalist Muslim rule.

Would this have changed Feri’s decision to return to her homeland? This narrative is compelling and I read the book several times. We tend to think of Iranian women’s lives as more limited than western womens’ and in many ways nahis are, especially since the Khomeini regime.

This book precedes that time however, so the protagonist, who returns to visit family after living in the U. Because the differences are not so stark in this story, we This narrative is compelling and I read the book several times.

Because the differences are not so stark in this racglin, we can contrast Iranian and American cultural attitudes without dealing with such drastically reduced women’s rights.

We see more clearly the ways in which our own society is not so great when the character’s husband comes to fetch her back to the U. He is prim and unfeeling compared to her and the Iranians we meet through this book, nnahid is rich in sensual detail.

This book was well-written and evocative, but a later book I read by Rachlin disappointed, and made me wonder if Foreigner’s editor shouldn’t get a lot of credit for this one. Jun 12, Nicole rated it it was ok. She is initially in a state of reverse culture shock to be back in her native land and starts to pursue returning back to the US early but events outside her control cause her to remain.

She appears to be a woman who oscillates between two worlds and initially doesn’t quite fit in either. While it is a pleasant portrayal of modern Iranian culture, the story felt a bit flat to me as there was no empathy towards the protagonist and the details of various side stories are never fully elucidated.

Very quick read but unsatisfying to this reader. I love this book but then I have yet to read a book by Nahid Rachlin that I do not love. Jun 25, Ladyce West rated it it was amazing Shelves: More than about Iranians and their customs, or the constrasts between Feri’s American and Iranian parameters, this book is about a complex psychological discovery — the acceptance of self.

I read it twice because the story haunted me, not unlike the way Iran haunts Feri. The bonus comes from a portrayal of Iran from the inside, a knowledge precious to me an arm chair traveller. This is a thoughtful, extremely concise and well written book, introspective and beautiful. Oct 31, Greta G. This was an engaging and quick read. I found the main struggle to be about alienation and disappointment in relationships and work, with the clash of cultures exacerbating the protagonist’s stress.

Feri’s decision was not surprising, as her need to resolve her childhood trauma was foundational to self-discovery and moving forward with her life.

An Iran-born biologist visits her family in Iran after many years of absence. The plight of women in a slow-to-change male-dominated society comes under scrutiny, as she searches for her mother, long-divorced from her father.

In the process she questions her marriage to an American and her work, and struggles with the dilemma of not being able to get an exit visa to return to the US without written permission from her husband. Jun 25, Cyrusmoqtaderi rated it liked it. This was my first look into N. Rachlin’s novels and I found myself quite caught up in the book. It’s a short book and the story tends to pull the reader along so as to make it a quick read.


I found the story much simpler than her more recent novel, Jumping Over Fire, and with less depth.

Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin

There was more emphasis on the movement of the story as opposed to details about the places the characters visited or deeper inquiry into the day to day lives of each character. However, this did not detract fro This was my first look into N. However, this did not detract from the book at all, rather it gives the novel a quicker pace well suited to the main character’s search and the theme of discovery that is central to the story.

Very interesting to read this personally, being someone with strong Iranian heritage, but has never visited the country. I did think that some aspects of the story bby a bit predictable, but enjoyable none the less. A great read, and an excellent “first read” bj you haven’t yet tried any of Rachlin’s novels. Jun 11, Ruby Emam rated it it was amazing. This is a wonderful book and a pleasure to read. I love this story and I regret that I met Nahid only recently on Goodreads, we could have been raxhlin friends by now FOREIGNER describes what most of the world population has been through, foreigenr human nahld have always migrated since the dawn of civilization and will continue to do so.

The clash of cultures and the problems of adaptation are well described in this book. The Islamic regime prides itself in having pushed the country back for centuries This is a wonderful book and a pleasure to read. The Islamic foreiigner prides itself in having pushed the country back for centuries and to the dawn of Islam, but when I read about the end of the previous deposed Shah’s regime, I msut congratulate Nahid for her honest account of a regime that always claimed to have taken Iran up to the same level as the civilized countries I loved this beautiful and so very meaningful sentence which I quote: Oct 06, Sheila rated it it was ok.

I flew through this short read and overall was not very impressed with the character development. Perhaps because it was a novella, the author intentionally didn’t spend too much time on the details. There were a few foreigenr in the story where the author almost too casually mentions events that are jarring and require more explanation for example, the reason for the awkward relationship foeigner Feri and her brother or the moments of distance between Tony and her.

Overall, I think the story jus I flew through this short read and overall was not very impressed with the character development. Overall, I think the story just foreignfr more development.


I had a hard time empathizing with any of the characters and wasn’t very invested in the fate of any of them. I wanted to know more but then the book ended. Oct 18, K M rated it really liked it. An Iranian woman who was educated in the US, and who has married an American, travels ravhlin to Iran to visit her family after a 14 year absence. The first time I read this, I read from cover to cover in one sitting. I found it very engaging and at times painfully touching.

It is quite short- I think I will read it again one day.