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I saw this book on sale for 1.99 a few minutes ago Kindle special I read it when it was first released years ago and still remember the story Great story for a great price Its about a Jewish Iranian family in Iran during the 80 s revolutionary period The head of the family Isaac owns a Jewelry store He is making too much money under the leadership of the Shah is captured sent to prison accused of being an Israeli spy but really its because he successful in business His wife and 9 year old daughter struggle to survive with Isaac gone no money coming in and the awful stress of what s happening to Isaac The prison scenes are horrific and much too real The older son, is 18 He s in the United States as a student Hasidim in Brooklyn and a architecture student I remember this being a page turning story A terrific 1.99 special. Review to come. Engrossing and brilliantly written for a debut outing Combine this with interesting subject matter and a delicately evocative cover and you have a winner It s rare that I ll read a book in one sitting I am an eternal fidget tidier and mover of small objects, however The Septembers of Shiraz managed the impressive feat of keeping me seated for four hours and that is to be applauded Had it not been for this books inclusion on the National Geographic books and novels for the Middle East list, then I would have overlooked it entirely.The Peacock Throne is empty and the Shah is gone Iran is changing and slowly the populace are disappearing The easiest way to disappear is beneath the newly prescribed outer garments, under heavy shrouds of modest fabric The difficult way is over the border and into Turkey or Armenia under a cloak of darkness In the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, Isaac Amin, rare gem dealer, is accused of being a spy and is arrested by the Revolutionary Guard What follows is a year of uncertainty for the Amin family as friends and loved ones vanish, property is seized and the wealth and freedom that once characterised their cosmopolitan existence is slowly pared away Old alliances are put to the test and the idea of personal and national identity comes under scrutiny Finally it is life and not precious stones which becomes the most valued commodity of all.By giving a voice to one small family, Sofer highlights the far reaching implications of a regime change which do not always register in the wider world. I always feel somewhat iffy about novels set in Iran I m starting to realize that I an Iranian American who tries to connect to her heritage in a variety of ways am not the target audience for these kind of books These books seem to be written for a different target audience the American population at large, which still seems to think of Iran as a monolithic country where people only ever wear black, where the culture is rigid and forbidding In actuality, the culture is rich and fascinating There is to Iran than meets the eye Had I been a member of this target audience, I might have enjoyed The Septembers of Shiraz As it is, I didn t learn anything new from the novel I already knew about Iranian Jews for other novels written by Iranian Jews, check out Gina Nahai s books, namely Cry of the Peacock for nonfiction, check out Esther s Children, edited by Houman Sarshar , for one thing I already knew about the class differences the Iranian elite vs the poor that gave rise to some of the discontent at the root of the revolution, but I salute Dalia Sofer for writing it into her novel, because it s something that is often excluded from other such novels.In any case, I feel like this book could have been so much , had its characters and subplots been developed a little. [ READ E-PUB ] ♼ The Septembers of Shiraz ☭ In The Aftermath Of The Iranian Revolution, Rare Gem Dealer Isaac Amin Is Arrested, Wrongly Accused Of Being A Spy Terrified By His Disappearance, His Family Must Reconcile A New World Of Cruelty And Chaos With The Collapse Of Everything They Have Known As Isaac Navigates The Tedium And Terrors Of Prison, Forging Tenuous Trusts, His Wife Feverishly Searches For Him, Suspecting, All The While, That Their Once Trusted Housekeeper Has Turned On Them And Is Now Acting As An Informer And As His Daughter, In A Childlike Attempt To Stop The Wave Of Baseless Arrests, Engages In Illicit Activities, His Son, Sent To New York Before The Rise Of The Ayatollahs, Struggles To Find Happiness Even As He Realizes That His Family May Soon Be Forced To Embark On A Journey Of Incalculable Danger A Page Turning Literary Debut, The Septembers Of Shiraz Simmers With Questions Of Identity, Alienation, And Love, Not Simply For A Spouse Or A Child, But For All The Intangible Sights And Smells Of The Place We Call Home
A can t put it down even though I m also reading Harry Potter book Author s debut novel, and I can t believe how well she can write It s about the Iranian revolution in the early 80s, and a Jewish familyfather gets arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in the first paragraph The story holds your interest from then on Gives insights into Iranian cultural, class conflicts, women s plight, what it s like to wear the scarf all of the time like little elves crunching paper in your ear. i had high hopes after reading all the reviews, but was disappointed it s a well organized and thought out novel in terms of structure and plot, but the characters didn t do it for me i felt i was skimming along the surface of their feelings, and the writing also didn t particularly stand out i d still be interested to see what sofer does with her second work though, primarily because her background as a persian jewish american interests me. This book is both less and than I expected From a pure entertainment standpoint, I was disappointed not so much because of the pacing which is on the slow side, although the book is a quick read overall , but because I was hoping for a book that read like historical fiction, while this one read like a contemporary family story with the twist that the father is a political prisoner Nothing objectively wrong with that, and if you like modern day stories about families you ll probably like it better than I did, but it isn t my thing At any rate, I was rewarded by a book that turned out to be much thought provoking than I expected.The Septembers of Shiraz is about a Jewish Iranian family in 1981, following the revolution overthrowing the Shah, the father, Isaac, is arrested on a bogus suspicion of being an Israeli spy His wife, Farnaz, and 9 year old daughter, Shirin, are left to deal without him in Tehran, while the college age son, Parviz, is in New York It quickly becomes clear that the revolutionaries problem with Isaac isn t really that he s Jewish, it s that he s very rich Which makes for a much nuanced story hating someone because of their religion is just stupid, while hating someone for living extravagantly next to others who have nothing, for willingly turning a blind eye to a regime that tortures and kills dissenters as long as it s good for business well, that s much complicated.So what we get is a story about the effects of wealth and privilege, and what happens when people who are accustomed to that lose it But what this means is that we get a story about some often insufferable characters bemoaning the loss of their extravagant lifestyle and having great difficulty understanding why that lifestyle upset other people It s worth noting that the book was published in 2007, when the reading public was perhaps sympathetic to the woes of oppressed rich people than we are today And so despite all their travails brought on by the new regime the dramatization of which occupies most of the book , it s quite difficult to like these people, the mother and son in particular Even at the end of his character arc and no, I won t tell where in the book that is Isaac self righteously wonders, Why the constant indignation at a man who dares to live well Farnaz feels a deep pain for the loss of shameless extravagance no pain for people who actually have to deal with poverty or anything like that, though and is annoyed at the housekeeper speaking familiarly to her than she would have dared pre revolution Parviz is nothing but a spoiled brat in New York and without money why he suddenly has none at all is never explained , he lies around watching TV and thinking about how he wasn t born to do things like clean up after himself and take a part time job Unfortunately, whining and flirting with his landlord s daughter is all Parviz ever does his chapters are exceedingly dull Even Shirin is keenly aware that her current playmate is not someone she d have befriended before the revolution shut down the private schools And it s not just the sense that they re better than other people the Amins are so used to privilege that they don t seem to fully understand the political climate that they re living in Even after Isaac has been arrested and detained for months, even after Farnaz has been unable to stop his former employees from looting the business, the characters are shocked and outraged to discover that their beach house has been confiscated I was only astonished by their astonishment But denial is a very human response.Having difficult characters doesn t make a bad book, and Sofer s accomplishment is impressive in light of the fact that the novel is semi autobiographical she s a Jewish Iranian who fled to the U.S at age 10 One might expect that she d be wholeheartedly on the family s side, portraying them as innocent victims of an evil government, but while her sympathies are clearly with the family, the book is not that simple While the focus is very closely on the Amins, a few characters who sympathize with the revolution do get to tell their stories while the Amins try to portray their hiring employees and servants as an act of charity, one of Isaac s employees calls Farnaz out on this view spoiler I think she went a bit far with the scene where the characters talked about how Isaac hired Habibeh as their housekeeper because he saw her begging on the street and felt sorry for her, though I mean, really Who would choose their housekeeper that way Wouldn t you want references for somebody you re going to put in a position of trust And Isaac doesn t seem to support any charitable causes or donate money to anyone up until his donation that s actually a bribe, of course so I didn t buy that he was the kind of guy who would do this, if there is anyone who would do this There were so many poor people in Tehran and he didn t seem interested in doing anything for any of the rest of them At any rate, creating jobs is all well and good, but don t make it sound like you re doing someone this huge favor by hiring them to make you tea hide spoiler Fantastic story and book I first came across this as I am a huge Adrien Brody fan and try to see every one of his films as my library gets them The movie was excellent, so I decided to get the book as well It is far far detailed than the movie with loads of people that are not in the film.I highly recommend this book and hope she comes out with another one soon.A I really enjoyed the different voices in this book The story is interesting and really puts in perspective what it is like to live under and ever shifting government as a child, businessman, and a mother in Iran What if your values don t conform with those of the ruling elite How do you come to terms with that Or even survive What can a child do My one complaint is that the book didn t go on long enough There were a few issues that I wanted to hear about I especially wanted to hear the son and daughter s thoughts a bit Certainly an interesting read.