Divided Loyalties ~ Nilofar Shidmehr


The stories begin in 1978, the year before the Iranian Revolution. In a neighbourhood in Tehran, a group of affluent girls play a Cinderella game with unexpected consequences. In the mid 1980s, women help their husbands and brothers survive war and political upheaval. In the early 1990s in Vancouver, Canada, a single-mother refugee is harassed by the men she meets on a telephone dating platform. And in 2003, a Canadian woman working for an international aid organization is dispatched to her hometown of Bam to assist in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

At once powerful and profound, Divided Loyalties depicts the rich lives of Iranian women and girls in post-revolutionary Iran and the contemporary diaspora in Canada; the enduring complexity of the expectations forced upon them; and the resilience of a community experiencing the turmoil of war, revolution, and migration.

An unflinching look at the lives of women in post-revolutionary Iran and the contemporary diaspora in Canada.

Nilofar Shidmehr is a poet, essayist, and scholar, and the author of six books in English and Farsi, including Between Lives and Shirin and Salt Man, a BC Book Prize finalist. She writes and delivers lectures on women’s rights, migration and diaspora, and social and political issues in Iran. A specialist in literature and cinema of modern Iran, she teaches in the Continuing Studies program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where she lives with her husband.

Further reading:

Read: An excerpt of Divided Loyalties, House of Anansi

Review: Divided Loyalties, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quill and Quire

Prompt: Write a single paragraph about a trip you took back home. You might want to start with the journey itself or relay events once you arrived. Tease out memories as they come to you but also remember that this is fiction so allow yourself to embellish.

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