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Farah’s ready to move out of her parent’s house. It takes an hour to get to campus, and she has no freedom to be herself. Maiheen and Mostafa, first-generation Iranian immigrants in Toronto, find their younger daughter’s “Canadian” ways disappointing and embarrassing, and they wonder why Farah can’t be like her older sister Farzana — though Farah knows things about Farzana that her parents don’t. They begrudgingly agree to let Farah move, and she begins to explore her exciting new life as an independent university student. But when Farah gets assaulted on campus, everything changes. This beautiful coming-of-age story will be familiar to every immigrant in the diaspora who has struggled to find a way between cultures, every youth who has rebelled against their parents and every woman who has faced the world alone.
“A voyeuristic glimpse into the private lives of an Iranian family living in buzzing, urban Toronto, Sister Seen, Sister Heard peels away the layers of the idealistic people we try to become for the sake of our family. When a stalker bursts into the life of a rebellious young woman, her family scrambles to make sense of where to place blame, who to hold accountable, and what secrets to expose. Eslah’s book is unapologetically raw and intimate, forcing us to acknowledge women of colour, their experiences and traumas, and how they fit into the framework of a settler colonial Canadian society. A fresh and provocative look at the immigrant experience in the 90s, Eslah’s writing style will stay with you.”
— Taslim Burkowicz, author of The Desirable Sister and Chocolate Cherry Chai
This is an intimate and often raw portrayal of the lives of an immigrant family living in Toronto in the 1990s. It feels very personal and certainly focuses on cultural differences and how they vary between generations. But it has much broader themes of feminism, and how that means something different for POC, family relationships, racism, and violence against women.
— Angela Bray Kelman (@briarhillfour), Instagram, April 2022 (full review)