Guppy, Shusha 1935-2008 (Shamsi Assar)

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Guppy, Shusha 1935-2008 (Shamsi Assar)


See index for CA sketch: Original name, Shamsi Assar; born December 24, 1935, in Tehran, Iran; died of cancer, March 21, 2008. Singer, recording artist, and author. Guppy grew up in Iran in the 1940s, the daughter of a Muslim but Westward-looking theologian, living in an officially secular country that was striving for modernization and international acceptance. She was sent to Paris as a teenager to study languages but also trained as a singer, began performing in nightclubs and concerts, and never moved back to Iran. Guppy assumed the stage name Shusha, married an Englishman, and spent the rest of her life in England. Her concerts were warmly received, and she became a recording artist as well. The message of Guppy's music was one of love and spiritual unity. She embraced the form of Islam known as Sufism and devoted herself to countering what she perceived as a growing and dangerous trend toward militant Islam. Her message was universal. She was a friend to people of all faiths and to people of no faith at all. When she was not performing or entertaining friends at her London home, Guppy worked as the London editor of the Paris Review, an American periodical. She also wrote a handful of books, including The Blindfold Horse: Memories of a Persian Childhood (1988), A Girl in Paris (1991), Looking Back: A Panoramic View of a Literary Age by the Grandes Dames of European Letters (1991), Three Journeys in the Levant (2001), and The Secret of Laughter: Magical Tales from Classical Persia (2005).



Guppy, Shusha, The Blindfold Horse: Memories of a Persian Childhood, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1988.

Guppy, Shusha, A Girl in Paris, Heinemann (London, England), 1991.


Times (London, England), March 26, 2008, p. 64.