Forced to flee to the United States after the violent Iranian Revolution of 1979 at age eleven,Â Angella M. Nazarian takes readers on a physical and emotional journey from past to present, in her new book,
Life as a Visitor
. The book chronicles Nazarian’s difficult and triumphant journey to blend East and West. Incorporating prose, poetry, and stunning photos and artwork, Nazarian creates a mosaic of thoughts, emotions and locations that allows readers an intimate and inside look at what life is like for an immigrant caught between two cultures.
MyJewishLearning asked Nazarian a few questions about her book, her history, and her plans.
Tamar Fox: This is a really beautiful book. From your photography, to the typography, to the poetry, it’s all very elegant. How do you envision people reading it? From start to finish? Do you see it as more of a coffee table book? Is it more a chapbook than anything else?
Angella Nazarian: Thank you for the kind words. Life as a Visitor actually began as a collection of stories which were originally intended to leave a piece of history for my sons, Philip and Eli. I think it can be read from start to finish, but I also think that it is just as enjoyable to read a little bit at a time or skip from story to poem to photograph and back to story. For some readers, different stories may resonate and impact them in different ways. One of the most humbling and wonderful things that I have learned through publishing Life as a Visitor is that so much of the book comes to life through the reader. We all have different journeys in life, and while my book details my own personal journey, readers are able to reflect and relate, adding a personal element to the experience. So thatâ€™s how I mostly envision people reading itâ€“in whatever way is most personally rewarding for them. As for being a coffee table or chapbook, I think that the book tells a visual story in its own right, but the prose and poetry add so much to the experience; as much as the visuals add to the story, the written words deepen the visual element. All of the components in the book work beautifully in tandem.