A Door between Us

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What to expect

Weddings always have their fair share of drama, but this one comes on the heels of the highly controversial 2009 Iranian election and ensuing Green Wave protests.

When the matriarch of Sarah’s family arranged her marriage to Ali, it was with the intention of uniting two compatible families. However, as the 2009 election becomes contentious, political differences emerge and Sarah’s conservative family tries to call off the wedding. Sarah and Ali, however, have fallen in love and, against the wishes of their parents, insist on going through with the marriage.

Sarah’s cousin, Sadegh, is a staunch supporter of the government and a member of the Basij, the volunteer militia tasked with arresting protestors and shutting down speech against the regime. Meanwhile, Ali’s sister, Azar, is an activist, a divorce attorney, and a passionate Green Wave supporter, trying to enact change in a way that many Iranians see as inflammatory. When Sarah impulsively shelters a protestor in their car on the drive home from her wedding, she sets off a chain of events that can either unmask the government’s brutality or ruin them all.

Sarah, Sadegh, and Azar’s stories weave together in an unflinching, humorous, and at times terrifying story that demonstrates that, even as the world is falling apart around us, choices matter.

Critics Review

  • “Set during the 2009 post-election protests known as the Green Movement, A Door between Us is an authentic and intelligent depiction of Iran beyond the headlines and a poignant story of families belonging to the most traditional elements of the Islamic Republic. Ehsaneh Sadr’s insightful debut, with its thoughtful social justice message, paints a very human and, at times, harrowing picture of a complex nation and a group of people rarely present in Western fiction.”

    Holly Dagres, Atlantic Council
  • A Door between Us is a vivid, thrilling story of clashes and collisions, between tradition and civil liberties, between families, between individuals and institutions, between reform and reaction. With touches of humor, it is also a narrative of rumor, gossip, torture, terror, intrigue, and betrayal after the election of 2009 in Iran. Best of all it is a story of the deep bonds between people, of family ties and spiritual allegiance, and sustaining love, in a period of unrest and horror. You will not forget these scenes and these characters.”

    Robert Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of Gap Creek
  • “Captivating and heartbreaking, A Door between Us deftly captures the connections and conflict between two families with opposing ideologies in the aftermath of Iran’s 2009 Green Wave movement. With a fresh, compassionate voice, Sadr reveals our inherent closeness beyond the divisions and separations. An assured, immersive debut.”

    Marjan Kamali, author of The Stationary Shop and Together Tea
  • “The fraudulent 2009 Iranian elections and ensuing repression not only divided the country but also tore families apart. In A Door between Us, Ehsaneh Sadr vividly tells the story of one such divided family that brilliantly captures the pain, the hopes, the shattered dreams, the betrayals and the new friendships, all wrapped in the multitude of struggles of contemporary Iran.”

    Trita Parsi, author of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy
  • “Ehsaneh Sadr’s debut novel A Door Between Us is a powerful story that illuminates both the personal and the deeply political aspects of contemporary Iranian society. Sadr’s understanding and depth of knowledge about the ways Iranians must navigate societal and familial pressures in a time of crisis is a refreshing shift from the many flat and essentialized ways Iran has been framed by media narratives. Her writing is a reminder of all the things we’re missing in seeing and understanding Iran, as well as the ways that she, as an insider-outsider, narrates some of the painful and recent history of Iran for non-Iranians. An impressive and relevant work that adds to the richness of our Iranian-American literary canon.”

    Persis Karim, director, Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies & coeditor, Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers
  • “In a riveting story, Sadr captures the lines that divide Iranian society and the specter of tragedy that haunted it. She cuts right to the heart of life in 2009 and its consequences in a deeply understanding story.”

    Nazila Fathi, author of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran

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