Monday, February 23, 2015

Children of the Jacaranda Tree

"Life inside the prison walls was no different from existence beyond. Everyone carried fear, like a chain, carrying it in the streets, under the familiar shadow of the sad, glorious mountains. And in carrying it, they no longer spoke of it. The fear became intangible, unspeakable. And it ruled over them, invisible and omnipotent."

Sahar Delijani's novel is set in Tehran during two time periods: a few years after the revolution that overthrew the Shah, and thirty years later. Like a beautiful tapestry, it weaves together the stories of several different characters. Azar is a political activist who ends up in Evin Prison where she gives birth to a baby girl; but she only gets to nurse her daughter, Neda, for a few months before Neda is taken away from her. Omid is just three-years-old when his parents are arrested and imprisoned; they, too, are political activists. Omid and his sister, Sara, are raised for years by their grandmother and their aunt. Then there's Sheida and Forugh and Dante and Donya, all children of political prisoners, whose lives are shaped by the sorrow and fear of their parents' pasts.

This is the story of two different generations, both yearning and fighting for the same basic freedoms, freedoms denied to them by Iran's ruthless and tyrannical Islamic Regime. It is the story of secrets, hope, resistance, endurance, and defeat. Delijani, who was also born in Tehran's Evin Prison, has written a thoughtful and moving and important novel. One that reveals the truth about Iran's recent and not-so-enlightened past. It's unflinching and honest without being sad and depressing. And the way Delijani writes is simply amazing. If you've ever been interested in Iran's history and it's people, this is a must-read book.

Happy Reading!

Similar read:
     Between Two Worlds by Roxana Saberi

10 comments:

  1. What a beautiful cover! Interesting that the author was born in Evin Prison. Thanks for a great review!

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    1. I was lucky to have run across this book at the library. For being such a thoughtful book, it's a pretty fast read.

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  2. I am fascinated by Iran, and always on the lookout for booms about the country, or stories set there. I will definitely add this one to the list!

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    1. This is a good book about Iran to read; I liked that it addressed Iran's more recent history, too, as well as that time period just after the revolution. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  3. Interesting and intriguing! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks. It was definitely an eye-opening book, and so well-written.

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  4. This sounds great. To the tbr list we go!

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    1. :-) Hope yours isn't as long as mine is.

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  5. I read books about the revolution and reign of the ayatollahs in Iran, and also about the American hostages in Iran. This sounds like a great book to round out my reading! Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. You will like this book. It's take on Iran is SO interesting!

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