The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay

The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay

An American Family in Iran

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.
With U.S.–Iran relations at a thirty-year low, Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd dared to take his young family on a year-long sojourn in Tehran.The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay traces their domestic adventures and closely tracks the political drama of a terrible year for Iran's government.

It was an annus horribilis for Iran's Supreme Leader. The Green Movement had been crushed, but the regime was on edge, anxious lest democratic protests resurge. International sanctions were dragging down the economy while talk of war with the West grew. Hooman Majd was there for all of it. A new father at age fifty, he decided to take his blonde, blue-eyed Midwestern yoga instructor wife Karri and his adorable, only-eats-organic infant son Khash from their hip Brooklyn neighborhood to spend a year in the land of his birth. It was to be a year of discovery for Majd, too, who had only lived in Iran as a child.

The book opens ominously as Majd is stopped at the airport by intelligence officers who show him a four-inch thick security file about his books and journalism and warn him not to write about Iran during his stay. Majd brushes it off—but doesn't tell Karri—and the family soon settles in to the rituals of middle class life in Tehran: finding an apartment (which requires many thousands of dollars, all of which, bafflingly, is returned to you when you leave), a secure internet connection (one that persuades the local censors you are in New York) and a bootlegger (self-explanatory). Karri masters the head scarf, but not before being stopped formal-veiling, twice. They endure fasting at Ramadan and keep up with Khash in a country weirdly obsessed with children.

All the while, Majd fields calls from security officers and he and Karri eye the headlines—the arrest of an American "spy," the British embassy riots, the Arab Spring—and wonder if they are pushing their luck.The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay is a sparkling account of life under a quixotic authoritarian regime that offers rare and intimate insight into a country and its people, as well as a personal story of exile and a search for the meaning of home.

Baker & Taylor
Offers rare insight into a country and its people by following an Iranian-American writer and his young family on a year-long sojourn in Tehran during which U.S.-Iran relations were at a thirty-year low.

& Taylor

Offering rare and intimate insight into a country and its people, this riveting book follows an Iranian-American writer, along with his young family, on a year-long sojourn in Tehran during which U.S.-Iran relations are at a 30-year low.

Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385535328
Characteristics: 252 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 20, 2014

I read Hooman Majd's previous book, "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ," and this is a continuation of his exploration of the contradictions of modern Iran. Born in Iran, but educated in the West, Majd is a witty, observant and sympathetic guide, especially for Westerners seeking a better understanding of a country that we think is part of the "Axis of Evil."

ChristchurchLib Feb 09, 2014

"After 50-year-old Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd married and had a son with his American wife, Karri, the family moved to Tehran for a year... at a time when relations between the U.S. and Iran were tense, to say the least. But the couple wanted Majd -- who'd left the country of his birth as a child -- to get reacquainted with his homeland, and they wanted to introduce their son to the Iranian part of his heritage. Though they dealt with questions from Iranian security, fasted during Ramadan, and Karri had to wear a headscarf, they also found some things were familiar (parties, Facebook, and organic food). Offering an intimate insight into a country and its people, this is Majd's 3rd and most personal book about his homeland. For another look at a Middle Eastern reporter's journey home, try Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid's beautiful House of Stone." Armchair Travel February 2014 newsletter

Jan 13, 2014

A insightful book full of unique observations from a man (the author) who was born Iran and has come back again.


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Jan 13, 2014

kdstine86 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99


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