Humor and Pathos
a writer, relating the immigrant experience without patronizing or perplexing
the reader is no small feat. Actually making them laugh in the process is even
harder. Firoozeh Dumas has been
hailed by critics for being capable of delivering poignant glimpses of her
experiences as an Iranian American growing up in
Her first book to gain wide critical acclaim, Funny in Farsi, was a series of autobiographical essays illuminating her and her family’s experience of acclimatizing themselves to American culture. Her second, released this month, recounts her experiences of living with her French-born husband and blending French, American and Iranian culture and cuisine, as well as offering comical insights into Iranian copyright laws and the trouble with translation.
like poetry, is culture specific,” Dumas says in her latest book, Laughing Without an Accent. She uses
examples like the tireless relish with which pie-in-the-face routines were
employed in Western comedies. “The laugh tracks told us it was supposed to be
hilarious, but we thought it was obnoxious. We also saw it as a terrible waste
of food,” she says in her book; an opinion that I confess I’ve always shared.
To think of all that lovely pie going to waste…
Dumas comes to the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Shorewood on Monday, May 12, at 7 p.m.
coming to Schwartz in Shorewood the following day is local author Susan Engberg. Her short stories have
been praised for their meticulous prose, their gradually built tension and the
deftness and vigor with which they examine the inner workings of the human
mind. One New YorkTimes critic described them as stories
that “could change your life.” Many of them are set in the