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Extended Audio Sample The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran, by Hooman Majd, Michael Kramer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hooman Majd, Michael Kramer Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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With United States–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-haired, 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 twice for mal-veiling. 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Madj has written about Iran before, but listeners will find that this time it’s personal. Kramer’s conversational tone and pace add to the intimacy and immediacy of this timely audiobook.”


  • “A memorable account…With a keen eye for the telling detail and a refreshingly mordant wit, Majd offers glimpses of life inside the Islamic Republic in all of its unresolved contradictions.”

    Jon Lee Anderson, author of War Zones

  • “No one takes you inside Iran like Hooman Majd, whose keen observations and rich writing tell the story of an illuminating, delightful, and at times, horrifying journey. You will relish this book like a good meal.”

    Ann Curry, NBC news anchor

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About the Author
Author Hooman Majd

Hooman Majd was born in Iran and lived abroad from infancy with his family who were in the diplomatic service. He attended a boarding school in England and college in the United States, and he stayed in the United States after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Majd had a long career in the entertainment business before devoting himself to writing and journalism. He has now written several books, including the New York Times bestseller The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. Majd has also written for GQ, Newsweek, the New York Times, the New YorkerFinancial Times, Politico, the New York Observer, Daily Beast, and Salon, among others. In addition, he has published short fiction in literary journals such as Guernica, the American Scholar, and Bald Ego. Majd lives in New York City and travels regularly back to Iran.