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Life As A Visitor

November 18, 2009 - Linda Grasso


My friend Angella Nazarian has come out with a unique, captivating new book.  I picked up Life as a Visitor to read one night and simply couldn’t put it down. Although I’ve known Angella socially for about ten years (our husbands are friends), I had no idea of her story and I just couldn’t believe that this pretty, polished, confident, smart woman had been through such a trying time – nor did I know of dull ache in her heart. 



                     Angella Nazarian

Life as a Visitor tells Angella’s story of fleeing Iran as a young girl and grappling with the aftermath.  Immigrating to a new country presents huge challenges to anyone, but Angella’s move was incredibly difficult.  At the tender age of eleven, she relocated here without her parents and - talk about culture shock - she moved to the heart of Beverly Hills.  Her recollections are bittersweet and sometimes funny - particularly her first impressions of Americans and all the celebrities who live here. There’s a sweet passage in which the then 13-year-old Angella spots Marie Osmond, whom she idolized, looking for linens in a department store.  Angella lived with a married, older sister, all the while anxiously awaiting the arrival of her parents.  But the months stretched into years. Joining their family in America turned out to be complicated in the aftermath of the Revolution and Angella was not reunited with her parents until five and a half years later.


In the book, Angella candidly addresses her early years living in Iran with her close-knit family and her harsh, sudden uprooting as the Shah was ousted.  She also discusses her struggles to fit in, during the late 1970's and '80's, as a Persian Jew in Beverly Hills.   Once the time line hits adulthood, Angella switches gears, using her worldwide travels as a backdrop, but continuing to circle back to her childhood memories of Iran and of the hurt and bewilderment of leaving everything she knew and loved.  In her travels to exotic locations, she makes no secret of her goal – amidst her loving marriage and her sense of fulfillment with motherhood - and having married into one of LA’s most high profile and successful Persian families - she’s out to discover life’s true meaning and a sense of belonging. 


Instead of simply telling her story in narrative form, Angella cleverly combines several genres.  Not only is the book an autobiography, it’s also a coffee table book, a history book, a poetry book and a travel book. As a result, Life As a Visitor is not only a compelling drama, but a feast for the eyes. The pictures in the book are just gorgeous, including beautiful Persian homes, paintings, tile work and art.  There are also photos from Angella’s personal collection. In Life as a Visitor, Angella takes you on her journey.  As with all journeys, you’ll learn something along the way - whether it’s about the writer, the world or yourself. 



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I read Angella Nazarian's book and could NOT put it down. It is not only a beautiful and inspiring story but it is full of passionate, powerful poetry and photography as well !!! All the senses are fulfilled and I have recommended it to everyone I know ! Can't wait for her next project whatever that may be !!! She is obviously full of surprises !!!!

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