“Moving….Marashi succeeds at depicting her characters’ limited freedom in an otherwise modern society. Readers of women’s fiction will appreciate this.”
— Publisher’s Weekly
“This book accomplishes the amazing feat of allowing each of us to recognize a bit of ourselves in its characters, despite being firmly set in Iran. It is filled with realistic and touching portraits that show just how much we have in common with each other, despite our differences, beyond identities and borders. Bravo as well to the translator, Poupeh Missaghi, for the fluidity of the storytelling.”
— Négar Djavadi, award-winning author of Disoriental
“Nothing short of extraordinary. A born enchanter in her native land — Iran — makes landfall on our shores. I couldn’t stop reading once I began, and remained, forever, as if on the threshold of her dreams.”
— Lila Azam Zanganeh, Booker judge, author of The Enchanter
“I’ve heard lots of buzz about Nasim Marashi’s debut novel and after reading I’ll Be Strong for You, I am happy to know all the hype was deserved! Marashi delivers this story of three young women in Iran over two seasons with astonishing accuracy, empathy, and artistry. Their dilemmas are both small and large—the intimacy here is also uniquely universal in its predicament. I am glad we have Marashi as our guide here through this journey into the real soul of Iranian life today.”
—Porochista Khakpour, author of Sick and of Brown Album
“I’ll Be Strong for You is a beautiful story of friendship and love, rendered in the context of Iran. At once universal and specific to Iranian familial and social culture, written with an elegant and true pen, it is an extremely endearing novel. The kind of book that one never wishes to finish…”
— Parisa Reza, author of The Gardens of Consolation
I’ll Be Strong for You
An award-winning debut novel that examines the restrictions of family ties, the thrill and agony of emigration, and the resilience of female friendship in Tehran.
Three recent college graduates in Tehran struggle to find their footing as they enter adulthood. Roja, the most daring of the three, works in an architecture firm and is determined to leave Tehran for graduate school in Toulouse. Shabaneh, who is devoted to her disabled brother, is uncertain about marrying an increasingly assertive colleague, as it would mean leaving her brother behind. Leyla, who was unwilling to follow her husband abroad because of her commitment to her career as a journalist, is racked with regret. Over the course of summer and fall, in bustling streets and cramped family apartments, the three women weather setbacks and compromises, finding hope in the most unlikely places. Even as their ambitions cause them to question the very fabric of their personalities and threaten to tear their lives apart, time and again Roja, Shabaneh, and Leyla return to the comfort of their longtime friendship, deep knowledge, and unquestioning support of each other. Vividly capturing three distinct voices, Nasim Marashi’s deeply wrought narrative exposes how friendship, family, ambition, and love hold these women together in all their humanity and complexity.
NASIM MARASHI was born in Tehran, Iran in 1984. She started her career in journalism in 2007 and became a screenwriter in 2013. She won the Premier Prix in Bayhaqi Story Prize (2014) for the short story “Nakhjir” and the Premier Prix in Tehran Story Prize (2015) for the short story “Rood.” … read more >>
POUPEH MISSAGHI is a writer, a translator both into and out of Persian, Asymptote’s Iran editor at large, and an educator. She holds a PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Denver, an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in translation studies from Azad University of Tehran, Iran. Her nonfiction, fiction, and translations have appeared in numerous journals, and she has several books of translation published in Iran. Her debut novel, trans(re)lating house one, was published by Coffee House Press in February 2020. She is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Writing at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.