Jeegareh Ma


Based on a true story, Jeegareh Ma is a testament to the power of  love in the face of struggle and hardship.



Author: Rahela Nayebzadah

ISBN: 978-1926780283

Dimension: 5.5 x 8.5″

Number of Pages: 170

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Jeegareh Ma is a testament to the power of love in the face of struggle and hardship. Ghulam and Firishta, a wealthy couple, move to Kabul, Afghanistan, to begin a new chapter in their lives. Firishta is diagnosed with meningitis and passes away, leaving their six young children motherless. Moving back to Herat, Ghulam and his family discover that their motherland is no longer the same: the Soviet Union has invaded, causing them to seek refuge in Iran. In Iran, Ali, an impoverished, dark-skinned, and plumpish man asks for Maryam’s hand in marriage. As Afghans living in Iran, Ali and his family are denied identity, worth, and value. Ali’s prayers are answered when he and his family are accepted by Canada as refugees. Jeegareh Ma is a story of courage where love, family, and God are put to the test.


  1. Paul Matthew St. Pierre

    “Reading Jeegareh Ma by Rahela Nayebzadah, I was reminded of two of my favorite books, My Story (1955) by Sir Gordon Richards and The Enigma of Arrival (1987) by V. S. Naipaul. The prosaically titled My Story is the autobiography of great uncle, who was the most successful jockey in the world, with 4870 victories, and the first to receive a knighthood. I am interested in it because it tells the life story of a working class boy from Shropshire, my ancestor, who at the age of fifteen became a stable boy at Fox Hollies Stables, Wiltshire, and who worked his way up the ranks to race horses. Richards was a first-time author, and his title may reflect his naïveté. The Enigma of Arrival is in my estimation the finest work by one of the world’s great novelists, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature. The unnamed first person narrator recounts his upbringing in Trinidad, his Indian ancestry, his life in Wiltshire, and his publications, all these narratives coincidental with the life and works of Naipaul. But The Enigma of Arrival is a novel in autobiographical form only; it is not the much-anticipated autobiography Naipaul has always refused to write.

    Jeegareh Ma recalls these two works for me because it is both an autobiography, or family memoir, and a fictional autobiography/memoir in the form of a novel. As an autobiography, a ‘my story,’ it recounts the family history of Rahela, the first person narrator, and her recollection of her family’s migration from Afghanistan, through Iran, Pakistan, and India, to Canada. The book engages as life writing, and as a Diasporic narrative with global and national thematic implications. In this respect, though, it may be conspicuous as a typical autobiographical first novel, marked by naïveté. As a fictional autobiography, however, Jeegarah Ma can be seen to measure the ironic distance between family history and family representation, enigmatically, in the manner of Naipaul’s novel. It may be as remarkable for what it conceals and distorts as for what it reveals about Rahela and her family, particularly her relationship with her brother Rasool. Thus when the narrator recounts the novel’s climactic scene, in which, in 1994, the four-year-old Rasool is struck by a car and suffers a permanent brain injury and other serious physical complications, she may be designing a fictional event as much as reconstructing a historical incident. In their distinctive narrativities, the event is non-mimetic, when ‘It seems like I had fallen without knowing, or had just woken up from a dream,’ whereas the incident is cathartic, as when the narrator confesses, ‘I was left living my whole life knowing that I had done this to my brother’ and ‘Slowly, I started to believe that there was hope again.’ Yet her conclusion, post-narrative, in the back matter, ‘I was to blame. I am to blame,’ is similarly narratorial, in that implied-Rahela makes this statement.

    In its capacity as a subjective fictional autobiography, Jeegareh Ma considers the ironies of recollection, narration, representation, and confession with great complexity and insight, exposing, through the pose of telling all, the instability of “my story” and “the enigma of arrival” at memory, event, subjectivity, and closure.”
    -Paul Matthew St. Pierre, Professor of English and University Teaching Fellow for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

  2. Amazon Review by Ana

    “Great story , well written. Coming from the same city as the author makes it more relatable. I recommend it.”
    -Amazon Review by Ana

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