A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
A Novel

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A magical novel about a young Iranian woman lifted from grief by her powerful imagination and love of Western culture.

Growing up in a small rice-farming village in 1980s Iran, eleven-year-old Saba Hafezi and her twin sister, Mahtab, are captivated by America. They keep lists of English words and collect illegal Life magazines, television shows, and rock music. So when her mother and sister disappear, leaving Saba and her father alone in Iran, Saba is certain that they have moved to America without her. But her parents have taught her that “all fate is written in the blood,” and that twins will live the same life, even if separated by land and sea. As she grows up in the warmth and community of her local village, falls in and out of love, and struggles with the limited possibilities in post-revolutionary Iran, Saba envisions that there is another way for her story to unfold. Somewhere, it must be that her sister is living the Western version of this life. And where Saba’s world has all the grit and brutality of real life under the new Islamic regime, her sister’s experience gives her a freedom and control that Saba can only dream of.

Filled with a colorful cast of characters and presented in a bewitching voice that mingles the rhythms of Eastern storytelling with modern Western prose, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea is a tale about memory and the importance of controlling one’s own fate.

About Dina Nayeri

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DINA NAYERI was born in Tehran during the revolution and immigrated to Oklahoma at ten years old. She has a BA from Princeton and a Master of Education and MBA from Harvard. She is a Truman Capote Fellow and a Teaching Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Published January 31, 2013 by Riverhead. 480 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Her mother, a small force of nature, is a fierce champion, though she’s not happy that Saba is out in the sticks: “I won’t have her raised in this place...wasting her days with village kids, stuck under a scarf memorizing Arabic and waiting to be arrested.” Alas, a mother’s protectiveness is not ...

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea: ...

Publishers Weekly

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Beginning with the 1981 disappearance of 11-year-old Saba Hafezi’s twin sister, Mahtab, and their mother, Khanom, Nayeri interweaves Saba’s family trauma as seen through the eyes of the women of her seaside village, along with fantasies about Mahtab’s teenage fascination with everything Ame...

Nov 12 2012 | Read Full Review of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea: ...

Iranian Saba Hafezi is 11 years old in the 1980s, when her life changes radically. Her twin sister and her mother disappear, and, to cope, she convinces herself that they have moved to America. Saba has learned the art of storytelling. She invents a life for her sister that mirrors her own challe...

May 01 2013 | Read Full Review of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea: ...

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