Leila's Secret

Leila's Secret

Kooshyar Karimi / Feb 28, 2020

Leila s Secret In fundamentalist Iran new life sometimes means certain death When Leila comes to see Doctor Karimi both are in danger Born in a slum to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother Kooshyar Karimi has tran

  • Title: Leila's Secret
  • Author: Kooshyar Karimi
  • ISBN: 9780670078165
  • Page: 316
  • Format: Paperback
  • In fundamentalist Iran, new life sometimes means certain death When Leila comes to see Doctor Karimi, both are in danger Born in a slum to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother, Kooshyar Karimi has transformed himself into a successful doctor, an award winning writer, and an adoring father His could be a comfortable life but his conscience won t permit it he is incapableIn fundamentalist Iran, new life sometimes means certain death When Leila comes to see Doctor Karimi, both are in danger Born in a slum to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother, Kooshyar Karimi has transformed himself into a successful doctor, an award winning writer, and an adoring father His could be a comfortable life but his conscience won t permit it he is incapable of turning away the unmarried women who beg him to save their lives by ending the pregnancies that, if discovered, would see them stoned to death One of those women is 22 year old Leila Beautiful, intelligent, passionate, she yearns to go to university but her strictly traditional family forbids it Returning home from the library one day among the few trips she s allowed out of the house she meets a handsome shopkeeper, and her fate is sealed Kooshyar has rescued countless women, but Leila seeks his help for a different reason, one that will haunt him for years afterwards and inspire an impossible quest from faraway Australia Spellbinding and heartbreaking Leila s Secret shows us everyday life for women in a country where it can be a crime to fall in love But for all its tragedy, this unforgettable book is paradoxically uplifting, told from the heart of Kooshyar s immense sympathy, in the hope that each of us and the stories we tell can make a difference.

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      316 Kooshyar Karimi
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      Published :2018-012-10T08:53:28+00:00

    About "Kooshyar Karimi"

      • Kooshyar Karimi

        Kooshyar Karimi was born in 1968 in the slums of Tehran, Iran, to a family living in abject poverty His mother, Homa, was an orphaned Jew who married out of desperation to Khalil, his Moslim father, a bus driver with three wives and six other children to feed At the age of six, Kooshyar was compelled to work in order to contribute to the paltry income of his family He was only eleven years old when the Iranian Islamic Revolution ended the oldest lasting monarchy in the world.Amidst this post revolutionary chaos, and the bloodshed of the Iran Iraq war, Kooshyar pursued his education through to medical school with the determination to avoid war, stay alive, and support his mother It is from here that he went on to become a published author, award winning translator, doctor, husband and father by the age of twenty six After over two years of military service, Kooshyar began to successfully practice medicine and began the research for his book, A History of Iranian Jews It is due partly to this dangerous project that Kooshyar, walking down the paved footpath to his home, was kidnapped by the Islamic Intelligence Service in the winter of 1998 Tortured, burnt, and whipped over 62 days, Kooshyar found himself faced with an unimaginable decision to spy for MOIS against his own people or to be tortured slowly to death His forced cooperation was a significant factor in the arrest of thirteen Iranian Jews in March 1999, a case that caused an international outcry.Later, knowing that his value to the intelligence service had expired, Kooshyar realised that if he did not escape, he would soon be executed Using the survival instincts he had acquired in childhood, and a fateful connection from the past, Kooshyar manages to make his escape from Iran Finally, after 13 long months of dread and secrecy hiding with his wife and children in a tiny basement deep below an apartment block in Istanbul, he and his family were granted a political refugee visa to Australia by the UNHCR He is now an Australian citizen, fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Medicine, and member of the Skin Cancer Society of Australia and New Zealand He practises medicine full time in New South Wales, and writes in his spare time.


    1. When I first started reading this book I thought it was a work of fiction (albeit based on factual details about Iranian society). It wasn't until I researched the author a little further that I realised it was in fact a memoir based on Kooshyar Karimi's real experiences as a doctor in fundamentalist Iran in the 1980s and 1990s. The main reason I thought it was fiction was because it is told in two voices, that of Dr Karimi and a young woman named Leila. Dr Karimi has written both parts but give [...]

    2. This book was a page turner and very hard to put down. The reader is drawn into the lives of the doctor and the young woman Leila. We are made aware of the complex and unfair system that chain women to a life that most do not want, with no voice to say no, I want more, I want to be heard, I want to be of value. Then when the last page is reached, the reader is left wanting more. A great book.

    3. This book gets better and more intense as you read on. It really opened my mind to other cultures in this world. Was a great read and I finished the last half of the book in a day because I couldn't put it down.

    4. When I selected this book, I thought it was a work of fiction. This book tells of the life of the author who was a doctor whilst living in Iran. It is written like a work of fiction with alternating chapters of the Doctor and Leila. It was terrifying and heartbreaking.

    5. An absolutely amazing story that had me in tears. An excellent non fiction read that has really made me appreciate living in Australia.

    6. Islamski fundamentalizm, trudna sytuacja kobiet w Iranie Wiele już na ten temat słyszałam i czytałam, ale mimo to przedstawione w książce historie głęboko mnie poruszyły, a nawet przeraziły. Opis ukamieniowania, całkowita zależność kobiety od mężczyzny (nie tylko żony od męża, ale także siostry od brata), brak jakiejkolwiek swobody w kształtowaniu swojego życia. I to wszystko w drugiej połowie lat 90-tych XX wieku, bo właśnie wtedy toczy się akcja książki. W ostatnim [...]

    7. 'Leila's Secret' is an alarming and enlightening read. It is a difficult story to face at times, as the reader confronts the perilous existence of an Iranian doctor who secretly performs illegal abortions and one of his patients, a young woman who falls for a man on her brief excursions outside a closeted existence at home. Both face death if caught.Karimi's use of first person narrative is a bit disconcerting, and the final pages, in which he brushes over his capture and eventual escape from Ir [...]

    8. Beautifully written, despite my initial misgivings about the book's cover (yet another dramatically veiled woman, because hey, that sells well in the West). Dr. Karimi and Leila's story is one that needs to be heard. ContextNote, however, that their story needs to be heard in context. We're talking predominantly about impoverished areas in the 1990s where people's survival revolved around violence, inflicted either by the authoritarian government or by those in their own communities -- a grim si [...]

    9. I Saw Dr. Karimi on the Adelaide Writers Week early this year. His story moves me, his humbleness inspire me. If what i thought i experienced on his sessions on ADLWW, it is just a start. reading of this book brings things to new prospective. This is a true story, or stories of Iranian girls, ladies, and women that have unwanted pregnancy through love, luss, or mostly, through the power and domination of men. It is a storry on how an inocent 22 years old girl Leila falls in love with a man, and [...]

    10. Lies, lies and more LIES! I've got to say I as a muslim was offended by this book. I was very interested in this book just to see how this poor girl suffered and all the other girls as well but I noticed that the writer's message was much bigger than that. All he wanted to do was to show that islam is a barbaric religion. So much exaggeration was in this book that at times I felt like laughing because I've been to Iran and I have family there and never ever did I see or hear anything like what h [...]

    11. This is a work of non-fiction and possibly an important documentation, told in story form, of the plight of women living under the brutality of fundamentalist Islam in Iran.The story is told by a doctor who eventually fled Iran to live in Australia.The content can be hard going but for readers who want to know, it's an education.I found the last pages riveting, as he told the story in précis form of the rest of his life 'after Leila'. Incredible.

    12. I have not read a good story in such a long time! Then I came across this one and I get excited everytime I get a minute to read!! What a story!! I wish there was more he knew about Leila and Zahra and where they have ended up! Maybe a sequel when he does find her!! This is definitely one of my top 3 favourite stories!

    13. This was a book that I could not put down. Leila's Secret was a book like no other that I have read which was both confronting and sad yet it still managed to create faith in the kindness of some people. It also brings a lot of awareness of Iranian culture and that there is still good in the world despite the bad.Karimi is a brave man who risked everything to help those women in unfortunate circumstances. Karimi made it his life's work to perform abortions on women who have found themselves preg [...]

    14. This book is told in alternating chapters between Leila and the doctor who helps her, and you get a really good sense of what life is like in Iran from two very different perspectives. It's written in a very dry style without a lot of expressive language, which admittedly put me off a bit at first. When Dr Karimi is talking about Iran's recent history or the struggles that Iranian women face, it can come across a bit like a entry rather than the narrative of an actual person. Once I got used to [...]

    15. The second of Kooshyar Karimi's books that I've read. This is about his life but mainly about Leila, a young Iranian girl who is the youngest sister in her family. She would love to go to university and see the world or find a man she loves instead of one who is chosen for her by her parents. Her family is incredibly strict and her life revolves around chores and being at the beck and call of her horrible brothers. She is rarely allowed outside the house and when she is able to go she is chapero [...]

    16. Hard to put down and horrific in parts (because the stories and medical circumstances described are based on facts), this is an impressive book based on the author's experiences. The writing isn't exquisite, but the stories, though simply told, are compelling and speak for themselves. The stories offer an insight into particular parts of Iran at a particular point in time. Other readers have called this book non-fiction, but if the chapters written from the viewpoint of Leila are in part derived [...]

    17. Powerful novel, well written in a flowing and fetching style. It's hard to believe that the story is actually autobiographical, because Karimi himself works as a doctor, whom one would think is more scientifically guided, but still has such superb talent as a writer.I was surprised that the only critiques promoting the book were from Australian publications, since this book is definitely of top international standard. Apparently Karimi has yet to be discovered.

    18. This book was an interesting read. Written from the perspective of a doctor and a younge girl Leila, it touches on some of the difficulties people face living in a country ruled by muslim faith. The book was insightful yet heartbreaking, a true display of humanity at some of its worst. I applaud Doctor Karimi for his bravery in speaking out and being a voice for so many who suffer in silence.

    19. At what stage does the common good principle outweigh the law of the land? Would you risk your life to help those marginalised by the state so that they could live with decency? A thought provoking book that looks at the culture divide in Iran. A doctor who can help and the patients whose lives are restored to a degree of normalcy through his actions

    20. This booked opened my eyes to Iranian culture, leaving me wanting to learn more. The book was a page turner and to find out it’s a non fiction makes the whole story that much more intense. Definitely give this book a read

    21. Hmmm yes, when I first picked up this book I thought it would be an interesting read at the very least. What I didn’t expect was to not be able to put it down. So many emotions came and went whilst reading this story and it left me with feelings of gratitude for the life I have having grown up in Australia. Beautifully heartbreaking. This story had been told to perfection.

    22. This book is both beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. A compelling and intense read, paradoxically both difficult to read yet difficult to put down.

    23. This is the true story of Leila and dr. Karimi that took place in Iran in 1996. When they meet she is 22, unmarried and pregnant. Being from a traditional muslim family, her life is in danger, her brothers have the right to kill her for the sin she has committed. Kooshyar Karimi (the author) has seen many women in her situation and helped them by performing a termination; a crime for which he can be hanged if the authorities find out. The meeting between these two is the first and almost the las [...]

    24. I both loved and hated this book. It was very hard to read about the atrocities still going on against women, even in this day and age. I am very grateful to have been born into the culture I was, and grateful for Kooshyar helping the women of his culture that he could, even knowing it could mean death for him.I was left with a lot of questions at the end. What happened to Leila, and Zahra? How did the doctor escape? Obviously with him having to flee, he wasn't able to check in on his latest pat [...]

    25. Leila’s Secret is the second autobiographical book by the award-winning, Iranian-Australian author, Kooshyar Karimi. It is a controversial story that is likely to anger people because there will be those that vehemently agree and others that disagree with his views on religion in Iran. Karimi is ultimately a great storyteller that offers a book that is compelling and easy-to-read, despite tackling some very difficult subjects.To read the rest of this review please visit: theaureview/arts/books [...]

    26. A very mind opening this book. Not knowing a lot about Islam, I learnt a lot about Islam in this book. What you think about the religion is not important but I like how this book showed me that Iranians too find some of their religious laws unrealistic and will defy them for the greater good.This book is an emotional roller coaster, it does get pretty depressing but it is Also a very realistic book.Praise for Kooshyar Karimi and his great story telling abilities. You taught me well.

    27. Lies and lies It's a good read but it's not about Iran of 20 years ago? Maybe Iran of 80 years ago.I'm an Iranian woman and being teenager on exact those years in a small city I can definitely say this book is full of lies. Full of generalising. Show the whole story, and judging all Iranian families, culture and life like this is just so offensive Be a great writer like Khaled Hosseini Muslim or Jews good and bad people are everywhere.

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