[REVIEW] For Our Country, Fatemeh Farahani(published as Shahein Farahani)

A tablet sits on a countertop in front of a window. There is a tall purple drink on one side and a plate of green and white rice cakes on the other.

(Download it for free HERE.)

Woman’s the soul, and man the body of our country
With soul and body linked, new life will have returned
to our country

In the landscape of weird that has made up 2020 so far, “Bailey’s is teaming up with The Women’s Prize For Fiction to work for progress in feminist publishing,” is…not really the weirdest thing, is it? The two entities have republished 25 works originally published under male author names (for various reasons, often having to do with sexism) crediting the creator’s original female names. While the collection, called #ReclaimHerName, has already come under fire for sloppiness, ahistoricity and in one alarming case possible deadnaming (supernatural fiction writer Vernon Lee didn’t use female pronouns when alive), it’s an interesting base concept and the titles included are pleasingly diverse.⠀
I’d never heard of Shahein/Fatemeh Farahani before downloading this collection, and even though I searched pretty extensively. there’s just isn’t a lot of information available about her in English. The Iranian poet lived from 1864-1919, and for much of that time, there was no formal education allowed for girls, so it’s easy to guess why she wrote under a male name. We don’t know for sure, though. Her entry in this series is a one page patriotic poem that makes much of the role of women in revitalizing a struggling country, mostly as mothers and daughters.⠀
While anything I have to say about the historical context or importance of the piece is pure conjecture (I couldn’t even find out when it was written), it’s interesting to see nationalism from the perspective of another country and lifetime away from my own. Seeing that the poem focuses on women even though the poet wrote under a male name also piques my interest. If nothing else, For Our Country makes me want to know more about Iranian history and culture pre-revolution. ⠀
I can definitely see why this series is being criticized–the translator of this poem isn’t credited, the original publication date is nowhere to be found and the author bio is far too brief, which makes the poem itself very hard to place or understand fully. I appreciate being introduced to something new, but I have no idea what I just read. Therefore, I don’t have much more of a response to it except, “Hmm. That was nice.”⠀
3 stars and extensive annotations to For Our Country.

(This blog contains affiliate links and purchases may earn a commission for this blog. However, reviews are not bought and all thoughts and feelings about books presented are my own, and honest. Thanks for reading, and peace! )


2 thoughts on “[REVIEW] For Our Country, Fatemeh Farahani(published as Shahein Farahani)

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