In This Review

To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America
To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America
By Tara Bahrampour
Farrar, 1999, 368 pp.

Deed-o-baz-deed is Persian for "seeing and seeing again" -- the practice of visiting relatives and friends for days in a row. Such intimate rituals of relationships are common in the Middle East, but often overbearing in the West. It is the perfect title for this beautifully written memoir by a young Iranian-American woman, capturing her affection for Iranian customs even when they clash with her more individualistic, freedom-loving American culture. It also describes the book's central drama: Bahrampour's return to the place of her childhood after nearly two decades of absence. The girl whose parents abruptly swept her away from the turmoil in Tehran in 1979 returns as a perceptive young journalist. She revisits quirky relatives, tussles with the Iranian bureaucracy over her American passport, gets updated on the mating rituals and social mores of her contemporaries, and grapples with the nostalgia and sense of loss for the Iran of her childhood. Although apolitical in tone and purpose, To See and See Again is worth reading for its insights into the contradictions and complexities of Iranian society.