Fiction. Middle Eastern Studies. Women's Studies. A PALACE IN PARADISE is a novel about the complex Iranian refugee and immigrant community in Toronto and the way in which one woman's death changes the lives of many others. The people in this community are connected by family ties, cultural ties, romance, and the fact that, as immigrants, they not only share a culture, but they also share a past of political violence. Several were at one time imprisoned in Evin, a notorious jail in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Some were unable to withstand the daily torture and constant physical pain they were subjected to in Evin, and thus began to cooperate with the jail's authorities and participate in the torturing, even execution, of other prisoners. Many are incapable of having a normal life even after being released from the prison, and having immigrated to Canada to start a new life. Parvaneh, a social worker, accepts her friend, Ferdous, even though she may be a traitor. She is pitted against Nadereh, a refugee who learns that Ferdous was a traitor and feels duped. Guilt is a major theme in this book as characters deal with remorse from having caused the death of another by accident, or by not acting sooner, or by betrayal to the authorities. Life in exile is not easy and some succumb to their dark past with fatal consequences, while others struggle to forgive and find solace.
Mehri Yalfani was born in Hamadan, Iran. She graduated from the University of Tehran with a degree in electrical engineering and worked as an engineer for twenty years. She immigrated to Canada in 1987 with her family, and has been writing and publishing ever since. Four novels and two collections of short stories written in Farsi, her mother language, were published in Sweden, the U.S. and Canada. Her novel, Dancing In A Broken Mirror, published in Iran, was a finalist for the "Book of the Year" in 2000. She has published several books in English, including Parastoo: Stories and Poems (1995); Two Sisters (2000); Afsaneh's MoonAfsaneh's Moon was published in Iran in 2004. A volume of poetry in Farsi, Rahavard, was also published in 2004. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of American and Canadian anthologies. Her most recent collection of short fiction, THE STREET OF BUTTERFLIES, was published in 2017. She lives and writes in Toronto.Author City: Toronto, ON CAN