Unrest: A Coming-of-Age Story Beneath the Alborz Mountains
UNREST tells the story of seventeen-year-old Annie Patterson, plucked from her comfortable existence in the American Midwest, to travel with her mom and siblings to join her lieutenant colonel father in Tehran, Iran. It's the late 1970s, and unbeknownst to the Patterson family, Iran is on the verge of phenomenal and unprecedented change. Initially, culture shock envelopes Annie as much as the black robes that cloak the people milling in the airport, or the pollution that hovers below the snowcapped peaks of the Alborz Mountains. Cultural differences are soon embraced as the two Patterson sisters meet two Iranian teenage boys at the side of a dusty soccer field. Experiences begin to deepen: a whirlwind tour of the ancient Grand Bazaar, a picnic on an aged Persian carpet, and a Persian wedding and dancing beneath a looming moon amid the sweet fragrance of jasmine. But as the saying goes: "all is [not] fair in love and war", and the two sisters find themselves attracted to the same man. Soon, though, unrequited love becomes the least of Annie's worries as the rumblings of dissent and unrest become too loud to ignore: movie theater fires, restaurant bombings, the imposition of martial law, foolish dalliances after curfew, even dangerous encounters with roving gangs of dissenters and bloodied demonstrators. As uncertainty overtakes daily life and the overthrow of the Shah becomes imminent, activities such as work and school must go on with sheer determination and courage. Trapped by tumultuous demonstrations in the streets, Annie spends a passion-filled night with her Persian protector, to the extent that an innocent teenage girl and an adult boy bound by religious sensibilities can. Ultimately, the country unravels, the Shah's regime ends, and the Patterson family and their Iranian friends must figure out what to do next (Inshallah, God Willing), before "persecute; purge; pious" becomes the motto of the day, and Annie and her family are forced to live life as if there were no tomorrow, in the midst of heart-numbing UNREST.
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