A multilingual tour de force, Mimi’s Suitcase is the true story of a displaced teenager who returns to her native Iran from her adopted Spain in the midst of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. This involuntary uprooting awakens engaging questions about identity, language, culture, and homeland in this hilarious and heart-warming universal coming- of -age journey of resilience, humanity and, above all, hope.
As a snapshot of the experiences I had returning to my native Iran after a happy and carefree upbringing in Spain, Mimi’s Suitcase embodies the personal gravitas of experiencing an entirely different Iran from the one I remembered in the early 1970s. Charlie’s Angels had given way to war slogans and a strict social, moral code for which many of us were unprepared. Young people were seeking refuge in popular culture.
Underground video clips, posters, and cassettes sold in the black market gave us a momentary respite from the suffocation we endured as we masked our true feelings in the public eye. What kept us going was an inherent resilience based on shared humanity and the deep knowledge that we were not alone, even though we felt we were born on the wrong side of the world.
In writing this personal yet historically-influenced story, one of my goals was to pay homage to belief and hope for the world in which we can no longer make blanket statements about people’s origins without knowing their complete stories. To this end, my narrative spans 27 characters who speak in their way using Castilian Spanish, Persian, British English, and standard American English.
It is my heartfelt mission to use the art of storytelling to bring us all together to the realization that we have more in common than what sets us apart.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Tirgan Magazine.
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