Favorites & Recommendations

A Mirror Garden

"A Mirror Garden introduces a captivating story of a unique artist. Monir's art is beguiling, and so is the story of how she came to be a creator and collector of beautiful things." -Her Majesty Queen Noor

"Captivating...Sumptuously detailed." -Megan O'Grady, Vogue

Memoirs have the ability to transcend the other and take us deep into the unique emotions, thoughts and ambitions that characterize the human experience for us all. With over 100 illustrations and 322 pages spelling out Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's legacy, we learn intimately of this fearless woman and artist born in Persia.

"In Persia in 1924, when a child still had to worry about hostile camels in the bazaar and a nanny might spin stories at her pillow until her eyes fell shut, the extraordinary and irresistible Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born. From the enchanted basement storeroom where she played as a girl to the penthouse high above New York City where she would someday live, this is the delightful and inspiring story of her life as an artist, a wife and mother, a collector, and an Iranian.

 Born an adventurer and a tomboy, Monir describes a childhood spent getting into scrapes and dreaming up improbable destinies. We see the mischievous girl become a spirited young woman defiant of tradition: traveling to America during World War II; training as an artist; escaping a disasterous marriage; and learning to support herself and her baby before Abolbashar Farmanfamaian, an Iranian of royal decent, whisks her back to Tehran for her second wedding.

Home again and happily married, Monir discovers the neglected folk arts of far-flung regions and explores her own creative impulse, in which traditional Iranian forms reveal surprisingly modern possibilities. She throws marvelous parties, plays Twister with the shah, and delights in road trips in the decades before the rise of radical fundamentalism forces her to leave everything behind and begin a new life in New York.

An enchanting love story, a compelling portrait of the creative spirit, and a celebration of the warmth and grace of Iranian culture, A Mirror Garden is also a genuine fairy tale whose exuberant heroine has never needed rescuing- for by embracing experience, she has always charmed her own life."

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born in 1924. She now lives and works in New York.
Zara Houshmand is an Iranian American writer and theater artist. She lives in Austin, Texas.