Liquid

A Love Story

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By Mariam Rahmani

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$29.00

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$38.00 CAD

The Marriage Plot meets The Idiot in this brilliant debut, which tells the story of a young Muslim scholar stuck in the mire of adjunct professorship in Los Angeles who decides to give up her career in academia and marry rich, committing herself to 100 dates in the course of a single summer. By midsummer reality hits, taking her—and her project—to Tehran.

The unnamed Iranian-Indian American narrator of Liquid, A Love Story has always believed herself to be the smartest person in the room. And from an early age, she and her best friend—a poet-turned-marketer named Adam—have turned their noses up at other peoples’ riches. But two years after earning a PhD from UCLA, the narrator is no closer to the middle-class comfort promised to her by the prestige of her fancy, scholarship-funded education and the successes of her immigrant parents. Jokingly, Adam suggests she just marry rich.

But our protagonist, whose PhD thesis compared Eastern and Western views of marriage in film and literature, takes the idea seriously. She makes a spreadsheet and outlines a goal: 100 dates with people of all genders and a marriage proposal in hand by the official start of the fall semester. What follows is a whirlwind summer packed with dating: martinis sans vermouth with the lazy scion of an Eastside construction empire; board games with a butch producer who owns a house in the hills and a newly dented Porsche; a Venmo request from a “socialist” trust fund babe; and an evening spent dodging the halitosis of a maxillofacial surgeon from Orange County.

Only a tragedy in Tehran and an overdue familial reckoning can alter the narrator’s increasingly manic trajectory and force her to confront the contradictions of her life in Los Angeles. And as doubts begin to creep in about her marriage project, it suddenly seems possible that the eligible prospect she’s been looking for has been beneath her nose the entire time.

For fans of Kaveh Akbar and Elif Batuman, Liquid, A Love Story delivers a modern tale of romance, loss, and belonging like no other. Mariam Rahmani’s gorgeous high-wire satire explodes off the page with verve and originality in this riveting spin on the classic romantic comedy.

  • Praise for Mariam Rahmani's translation of In Case of Emergency by Masha Mohebali:

    Sheekasteh is the Farsi expression for the kind of visceral, idiomatic slang that characterizes this book’s prose—nimbly translated here by the scholar Mariam Rahmani—but the word literally means ‘broken.’ The novel’s most compelling transgression may be linguistic, the tectonic shift it represents in Iranian letters.”
     
    Negar Azimi, New York Times
  • “Utterly shattering—I could hardly catch my breath… At turns hilarious and deeply unnerving, here is contemporary Tehran as never glimpsed before. Mariam Rahmani's pitch-perfect translation is intoxicatingly energetic, capturing all the poetry and pathos of disintegration. Read this now.”
    Justin Torres, National Book Award-winning author of Blackouts
  • “A brilliant and jarring portrait of contemporary Iran, rife with unrest, drugs, and destruction.”
    Publishers Weekly
  • “A macabre urban carnival of a novel. In Mariam Rahmani’s inspired, electric translation, Mahsa Mohebali’s portrait of the unmoored offspring of Tehran’s educated elite jolts the reader, offering a rare visceral glimpse into contemporary Iran.”
    Natasha Wimmer, translator of Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives
  • "Mariam Rahmani’s startling new translation of Mahsa Mohebali’s In Case of Emergency practically vibrates in the hand... Rahmani’s translation is brilliant—her language throughout dazzles and sears… Turns out I’d been waiting for [this book] my entire life."
    Kaveh Akbar, New York Times Bestselling author of Martyr!

On Sale
Mar 11, 2025
Page Count
304 pages
Publisher
Algonquin Books
ISBN-13
9781643756509

Mariam Rahmani

About the Author

Mariam Rahmani is a writer and translator. Her fiction and essays have recently appeared in GrantaGulf Coast, and the Los Angeles Times’ Image Magazine, and her translation in n+1 and Columbia Journal. Her first book-length translation, of the contemporary Iranian cult hit novel In Case of Emergency by Mahsa Mohebali, was well reviewed in The New Yorker and The New York Times and named a Best Book of 2022 by The New Yorker. Her awards include an American Council for Learned Societies fellowship and a US Fulbright grant. She holds a PhD from UCLA and an MFA from Columbia, as well as degrees from Princeton and Oxford. She currently serves on the faculty of Bennington College.

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