“…Amini’s voice wields a quiet power, examining her world with unflinching curiosity and care. A moving, engaging investigation of culture and family.“
Memoir of a Jewish-Iranian Daughter Caught Between the Chador and America
In this poignant, funny, entertaining, and uplifting memoir, Amini documents with keen eye, quick wit, and warm heart how family members build, buoy, wound, and save one another across generations; how lives are shaped by the demands and burdens of loyalty and legacy; and how she rose to the challenge of deciding what to keep and what to discard.
Esther Amini grew up in Queens, New York during the freewheeling 1960s. She also grew up in a Persian-Jewish household, the American-born daughter of parents who had fled Mashhad, Iran. In Concealed, she tells the story of being caught between these two worlds: the dutiful daughter of tradition-bound parents who hungers for more self-determination than tradition allows.
“A moving, honest, and compelling memoir that unveils the little-known world of Persian-Jewish immigrants in America in the 1950s and 1960s. Amini’s storytelling is masterful, her prose poignant, and her characters leap off the page right into your heart.”
- Ronda Spinak, Co-founder and Artistic Director, Jewish Women’s Theatre
“Concealed is an extraordinarily eloquent narrative that provides a humanizing glimpse of the underground Jews of Iran, their story of oppression and assimilation, and how a gifted, intelligent girl growing up in the States struggles to reclaim the past while propelling herself into the future. Amini’s dignified, honest, and probing voice resonates throughout her journey of self-discovery.”
- Angella M. Nazarian, author of Pioneers of the Possible, Visionary Women, and Life as a Visitor
“Are we what we reveal? Is our hidden self ours? Are nature and nurture adversaries? Esther Amini has written a unique, courageous, heart-wrenching, and humbling memoir in which gender, religion, country, and individual character battle it all out. I couldn’t stop reading.”
-Ilan Stavans, author of On Borrowed Words
“In this beautifully crafted memoir, Esther Amini weaves a riveting portrait of her family life as the daughter of Iranian-Jewish immigrants in New York City struggling to emerge from the shadows of medieval Mashhad. It is a life fraught with contradictions, a constant push-pull between tradition, trauma, and the need to be free. It is a deeply personal tale, painfully honest and brilliantly told.”
-Susan Mailer, psychoanalyst and author of In Another Place with and without my Father, Norman Mailer
“Concealed is a heart-wrenching, coming-of-age memoir by the daughter of hidden Iranian Jews who immigrate to America but never escape the emotional prison of their previous existence. Esther Amini grapples with the shadow of the chador even while tasting Western freedom. You will cheer for her as you ponder the eternal question: how do we survive our families?”
-Sally Koslow, author of Another Side of Paradise and The Widow Waltz
“Concealed is Esther Amini’s remarkable account of growing up in a house where books and education are for boys and a prearranged and stultifying marriage is supposed to be her destiny. It chronicles the journey of a sensitive and curious girl who from childhood has to create her own story. Against her parents’ wishes and cultural mores, Amini not only survives but thrives and reinvents herself in extraordinary ways. Lucky for us she grew up to be a writer with a keen eye and ear who has produced a wonderful memoir.”
-Patty Dann, author of Mermaids, Starfish, and The Butterfly Hours