She is not me by Golnaz Hashemzadeh
Original title – Hon är inte jag
Translator – Katarina tucker
Source – review copy
Two ways to choose,
On a razor’s edge,
Go straight ahead.
Room full of people, room for just one,
If I can’t break out now, the time just won’t come.
Two ways to choose,
Which way to go,
Decide for me,
Please let me know.
Looked in the mirror, saw I was wrong,
If I could get back to where I belong, where I belong.
I choose joy divison as the first lines of the something must break capture the daughters life on a razors edge .
Last month I review a storm blew in from paradise , another swedish novel about the refugee experience that one was about the trip of coming to a country and how the next genration deals with it . Anyway World edition the publisher said they had another book from Sweden about being a refugee they felt I may enjoy as well . They sent me this the debut novel from Golnaz Hashemzadeh , she arrived in Sweden when her family fled Iran as a child .She studying at the Stockholm school of Economics , she was the eighth woman to study there and the first to be president of the students ,She has worked in finance and set up the non profit Inkludera invest a company that invest in social enterprise and ideas in Sweden .
In the beginning Mama and the Girl were joined at the hip. She sat on the toilet seat while mama showered in the mornings. Mama sat on the floor next to the desk with her strong tea while the Girl did her schoolwork. They changed together when it was time for the night shift at the nursing home. Mama changed into her nurse’s uniform , the Girl into he pyjamas .
They were close once but life draws them apart.
She is not me is maybe mirrored by Golnaz own experiences in a way it follows the fortunes good and bad of a family from Iran that have arrived in Sweden, we see the parents dreams of this new freedom not come quite the way they wanted them to end as they don’t quite fit in their new homeland .So it is their daughter who they start to push getting her in the best school .The daughter unnamed within the book is the main character as we she how she gets in school but finds she has to change who she is as a person and as she does we see how she struggles to fit in and how that affects her as a person as she walks a tightrope between what her family want her to be and what her peers want her to be .The point comes where tis has a long term effect on her .
Papa was the one who found the Elite School. He understood tha elite meant taking advantage of opportunities, that elite was the result of dreams and hard work, Papa understood that she should elite . He placed the pink business paper next to her physics books , circled photos and headlines .
All of them attended the Elite School
The father pushes her to become the best she can , but maybe to hard at times as she bends to fit in .
This is the story we don’t often see on the news or in papers , we she people arrive in a new country and then see the next generation maybe. But what about the kids and families that arrive their .What happens to them , I not read many stories about that Golnaz captures well what a struggle it must be to try to stay in one world with your parents the world they escaped, but never quite leave in their minds .Where as she is of the world she has come to but not fully so she is caught with a foot in each camp being Iranian but growing up swedish but also wanting to be accepted by her peers .This is a real struggle and this is what Golnaz captures so well the emotions of growing up a divide soul .
Have you read a book about living in a new country after you escaped tyranny ?