Estranged from her abusive parents as a teenager, Taraneh Pourani overcame poverty, isolation and self-hatred to build a happy home with her loving husband and children. Triggered by her young sons’ annual visit with their grandparents, Taraneh becomes psychologically distressed. She begins to doubt her memories and question her decision to remain distanced from her aging parents.
A journey into Taraneh’s family history reveals three generations of unaddressed mental illness and unresolved childhood trauma. Due to poverty in early twentieth-century Iran, Taraneh’s grandmother, Batoul, is married at the age of nine and sent to live with her husband’s family. Ashamed and traumatized, Batoul raises her children to expect hardships and to endure them in secret. The seeds of dysfunction are planted in Mojegan, Taraneh’s mother. Mojegan is a nurse in Tehran in the 1960s when she marries the charming, but alcoholic and impulsive, Reza. She stands by Reza throughout their marriage, even after he abruptly kicks out their teenage daughter, Taraneh.
A powerful and beautiful debut novel by Kimia Eslah, The Daughter Who Walked Away explores the lives of three Iranian women, across three generations, as they struggle to love and be loved unconditionally.