Cover image for To see and see again : a life in Iran and America
To see and see again : a life in Iran and America
Bahrampour, Tara.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
Physical Description:
361 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.I5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When she was eleven years old, this author arrived in America with her family & five suitcases. Her American mother & Iranian father were fleeing Iran's Islamic Revolution. In the 1990s, she was the first member of her family to go back to Iran to visit her extended family & come to terms, as an adult, with the world she might have grown up in. To See & See Again is about three generations of a privileged Iranian family & about life in exile. The author describes the exotic Iran of her childhood; her family's attempt to lead a working-class life in Oregon; & her return to post-Revolution Iran, where she attends secret rock-&-roll parties, bakes bread with Kurdish separatists, & revisits her family's lost feudal empire, following the trail of Iran's volatile history with the West as she herself discovers how to synthesize both worlds. Compelling & lyrical, To See & See Again explores the complexity of the modern immigrant experience while offering an intimate portrait of a closed world on the verge of transformation.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Which is better, Iran or America? Growing up in both countries, Tara Bahrampour grew accustomed to hearing this question. Both her American mother and her Iranian father, who met in the early sixties at the University of California, found much to value in both cultures. During the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when Tara was eleven, the family fled Iran with very few possessions and struggled to find a place for themselves in Oregon. As an adult, Tara became the first member of her immediate family to return to Iran. Braving the uncertain and dangerous political climate of a society still in transition, Tara discovered that enormous changes have taken place since her childhood. Yet she found comfort in age-old continuity and the warmth of her extended family. With tremendous graciousness and fluidity, Bahrampour's writing imparts a clear sense of both the joys and challenges of living biculturally. This is a fascinating personal memoir set in the equally intriguing context of Iran's long and often-conflicted relationship with the West. --Grace Fill

Publisher's Weekly Review

This latest addition to the growing body of memoirs of multicultural childhoods is an entertaining account of an upper-middle-class upbringing in Iran and the United States. Skillfully deploying anecdotes of cross-cultural encounters, Bahrampour keeps her narrative moving briskly through her early girlhood in Tehran with her American mother and Iranian father, her adolescence on the American West Coast and her return to Iran after college. Bahrampour shows a light touch is everywhere evident as she details teen culture in 1980s California and her experiences in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran. Upon her return to Iran, she notes the banned TV satellite dish of her neighbors, which they hide from roving helicopters by a line of laundry. Deadpan, she wonders "if the authorities will ever realize that that shirt, that tablecloth, and that towel must be dry by now." However, Bahrampour overestimates the interest readers will have in her family life: only the exotic appeal of Iran to Americans distinguishes a narrative many people in their 20s could have written about alienation and how their dating habits distressed their families. Bahrampour's ultimate lesson‘that "it is always the place you cannot go to that is the good one"‘is as germane to people who have always lived in one shiny American suburb as it is to those who have shuttled between two very different cultures. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Bahrampour, the daughter of an Iranian father and an American mother, provides thoughtful insight into her complex, contradictory bicultural existence. Although she spent her formative years in Iran, her upper-middle-class family had decidedly Western tastes. In 1979, when she was 11, her family fled the country. Bahrampour had conflicting emotions about returning to the United States‘she had little trouble fitting into American adolescent life but often felt disconnected and longed for Iran. She finally returned for a visit in the mid-1990s and relished the enveloping familiarity of her extended family even as she struggled to cope with the restrictions of Islamic rule. Bahrampour writes in a cunning, fictionlike style requiring reminders that the narrative is true. Her suspenseful telling of the Islamic revolution and her family's flight is fascinating. An extraordinary book that can be read on several levels; highly recommended for public libraries and cross-cultural studies collections.‘Jill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.