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« "What Was Lost" by Catherine O'Flynn | Main | Q&A with Dani Shapiro, Author of "Family History" »

July 28, 2008

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Lindsay

I agree with Gayle's comment about the feel of the book "The book opens in a state of uncertainty and tension, which doesn't break throughout the whole novel." I found myself compelled to keep reading both to find out the ending and in hope of ending the uncertainty and tension I was feeling. However, by the end of the book, while I felt resolution of sorts, the feeling of tension and uncertainty was still there. I think that was part of the power of the narrative -- I expect that is how Sofer felt (feels?) herself.

As to the "dispassionate and even" tone, while I didn't always like it, I thought it was an incredibly effective device to help us understand the characters in the story. I wonder if this was how they were able to get through each of their difficult circumstances. Maybe.

I, too, thoroughly enjoyed this book and while it was difficult to read, it was an incredible window for me into something I knew little about.

Mary

I hadn't thought about the 'dispassionate tone' while reading. Now that it has been brought up, though, I think it was effective to me as the reader. This was a terrible time and terrible things happened. Usually, I can't read those books. I know they happen because I read the newspapers and see the tv news but I don't always want to read a book about it, you know? The author's tone is what kept me reading (and liking) this book. In fact, if she were to get more passionate, I'd like to see it in a sequel. I can't be the only reader who wants to know how this family made it in the US.

dawn hall

i thought thought this was a well-written book to be a debut. a few lines i think express the underlying themes of the novel:

"what an illusion, the idea of an ordered, ordinary life."

"doesn't every person who finds himself in dire circumstances believe, deep down, that he will make it"

"we must take the weeds out of the soil."

"you have to dream, otherwise how can you get by."

Julie P.

I absolutely loved this book -- I couldn't put it down because I felt as if I was totally drawn into these characters' lives. I find it very interesting that the dispassionate, even tone bothered you. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't even notice that about this book while reading it. I, too, am very curious why Ms. Sofer decided to write with that tone.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if it was effective for me because their lack of emotion showed that they had just resigned themselves to this horrific life -- they felt that it wouldn't really matter what they did because they couldn't change it. I think that's maybe why their decision to give up their home and worldly possessions was so much more moving -- they were finally taking some control of their lives.

My heart went out to all of the characters but especially Shirin. She was so young to be dealing with everything. She basically lost her entire family in some way or another (either physically or emotionally.) I loved that she tried to make a difference (or maybe even tried to have control over something in her life) by taking those files; however, the guilt and fear that she felt as a result were gut-wrenching for me.

Another thing that I found very interestng was how Ms. Sofer blurred the boundaries of good and bad. There were so many times that I was forced to think about how things aren't always black and white when it comes to situations like this. For example, the guards in the prison showed signs of humanity (the one even said that the interrogator wasn't a bad guy), Isaac's brother, the housekeeper, etc.

I agree with one of the comments that I am very curious what happens to the Amin family after the pages of the book. These characters were all very memorable to me (for very different reasons) and I keep thinking about them!

I posted a review about the book on my blog:
http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/2008/07/review-septembers-of-shiraz.html

Gayle, Thanks so much for this opportunity! I love that you do this for the blogging community of book lovers!

Ti

Anyone that has had to deal with day-to-day difficulties either succumbs to the pain, or becomes numb to it. The characters, all strong, were devastated by their circumstances but became numb in order to survive. I felt this was a believable reaction and thought the author did an excellent job of allowing us to see enough of what we needed to see in order to grasp what each character was going thru at the time.

As the others said, this was not a book that you could read right before bed, but I did find myself carving out sections of the day just so I could return to the story. I wanted to know what would happen next.

I was also intrigued with the class structure in the novel. There were many times where Habibeh and Morteza were referred to as "family", yet when Farnaz grew suspicious when her ring went missing...we were reminded by her thoughts that they were indeed servants. The same can be said of Morteza...when he makes a comment about why some people are born to be served, and others are born to do the serving.

I also appreciated the passges about the prison guards..what their lives were like beforehand. It helped me understand their point of view as well.

This story will stay with me for awhile.

Dawn

I think the "dispassionate" tone was the character's way of coping with what was happening around them immediately, and what had indeed been happening for several years.

Parviz had been sent to the US by his parents in order to escape involvement in the revolution.

The revolution caused the schism between Isaac and Farnaz. They were so shell-shocked by what was happening around them; instead of turning to each other for support and solace, Isaac buried himself in his work, forgot to bring her flowers and spurned her in bed. Farnaz coped by numbing herself with cognac and the evening news.

The tone also made it palatable as a novel, perhaps allowing Sofer to reach a wider audience who will see it as a compelling story rather than a political commentary.

I still have to post my review, and will check back for other comments in the discussion. A great choice, Gayle, thanks for hosting!

Melanie

I'm glad I read the book, but after the first chapter I didn't really like it. I felt that the characters went through all these trials, but no one came to any great realizations in the end. Isaac did realize he didn't need his weath or possesion but after agonizing over his religion nothing changed. The same with his son. And neither the wife or the daughter ever really understood what was happening. I was dissapointed in the characters becasue I was hoping for some changes in their beliefs.

Mary

See, I think the realization of what had happened to them would come after - when there was time to reflect (speaking 'fictionally', of course).

Stephanie C.

Overall I thought this was a good book, although a little touch to plow throw, probably just because it was so heavy. My only real disappointment was I felt that at the end there were something things that were just left hanging - the biggest being Parviz and his relationship with his landlords daughter. In fact, I guess I don't understand why most of his portion was even in the book because it never went anywhere, it just mostly felt like filler. Being that it was autobiographical I can see why in her mind it was important to include that portion, yet for the rest of us readers, I'm not sure there was any point. I did enjoy it overall though and would recommend it to others.

lenore

I enjoyed this very much and have read several books that are set in Iran during this time period. I agree that it is rather matter of fact in the telling. What kept me reading more than anything was the storyline involving Shirin and her stealing of the files. Very suspenseful! I plan to write a review of this for my blog and will post the link here when it's up.

Thanks for the opportunity!

softdrink

I thought the book was beautifully written. Her writing is what kept me going, since the story itself was difficult to read at times, especially Isaac's piece. Although his chapters were my favorites.

Sarah G

At first, this book did not immediately capture my attention; I think this was probably because the writing in the present tense took a few chapters to get used to. After about 50 pages, however, I was hooked.

As many of you have said, I agree that the disconnected, dispassionate tone was necessary to show how the characters were coping with their situation. The uncertainty caused them to shut themselves off just to be able to get through daily life.

I really enjoyed reading the story from several points of view. I think Sofer did a great job in distinguishing her characters' different experiences. One aspect of the story I was glad she addressed was the different types of grief. Issac has had his own harrowing experience, but Shirin and Farnaz have been through a harrowing experience as well. One of my favorite sections was where Sofer acknowledged that no matter how bad it was for Farnaz, Issac would always have the upper hand in sadness; so, Farnaz was forced to put her own experience aside so that the family was not completely overwhelmed. I feel like this is a common situation in many families, and there is never an easy solution.

I liked that the book ended where it did - any more would take the focus away from this one year and just turn the story into a biography of this one family's lives.

One thing I do wonder about is when authors write their first novel based on their own experiences. Sofer had a wealth of material to draw from because she lived a lot of her book. But, for her second book, will she have to start from scratch? This seems like it will be far more difficult, so I am wondering what she will write about next. (Gayle, perhaps this is something you could ask her about?)

Overall, I felt this was a very satisfying book, and I'm glad I read it. It is obvious that Sofer is a talented writer. I knew very little about this time period & the Iranian revolution and I hope to read more about it.

Lenore - I am interested in what else you have read about this time period in Iran; can you post some suggestions?

Kori

I adored this book though there were many times it became difficult to read (ex: Isaac's torture scene, descriptions of Mehdi's foot etc).
Isaac was my favorite character throughout the book because obviously he was the one that developed the most throughout the book. Shirin was a close second...it broke my heart when she told her father she didn't have any more friends left to tell her secrets to. Farnaz was a difficult character to like, though I'm beginning to think that perhaps the only way she could deal with her world collapsing was by being cold and impartial.
I liked how Sofer was careful in showing humanity and goodness in people and in Iran amidst all the chaos and pain. Brother Hossein, the guard who took care of Isaac in prison, the antique dealer who gave Farnaz the painting. I even had a shred of sympathy for Mohsen when I found out he was tortured in jail.
My only wish would have been for Ms. Sofer to have developed Parviz's character and delve deeper into the parallels of living in NY and his family in Iran.

Sarah G

At first, this book did not immediately capture my attention; I think this was probably because the writing in the present tense took a few chapters to get used to. After about 50 pages, however, I was hooked.

As many of you have said, I agree that the disconnected, dispassionate tone was necessary to show how the characters were coping with their situation. The uncertainty caused them to shut themselves off just to be able to get through daily life.

I really enjoyed reading the story from several points of view. I think Sofer did a great job in distinguishing her characters' different experiences. One aspect of the story I was glad she addressed was the different types of grief. Issac has had his own harrowing experience, but Shirin and Farnaz have been through a harrowing experience as well. One of my favorite sections was where Sofer acknowledged that no matter how bad it was for Farnaz, Issac would always have the upper hand in sadness; so, Farnaz was forced to put her own experience aside so that the family was not completely overwhelmed. I feel like this is a common situation in many families, and there is never an easy solution.

I liked that the book ended where it did - any more would take the focus away from this one year and just turn the story into a biography of this one family's lives.

One thing I do wonder about is when authors write their first novel based on their own experiences. Sofer had a wealth of material to draw from because she lived a lot of her book. But, for her second book, will she have to start from scratch? This seems like it will be far more difficult, so I am wondering what she will write about next. (Gayle, perhaps this is something you could ask her about?)

Overall, I felt this was a very satisfying book, and I'm glad I read it. It is obvious that Sofer is a talented writer. I knew very little about this time period & the Iranian revolution and I hope to read more about it.

Lenore - I am interested in what else you have read about this time period in Iran; can you post some suggestions?

Stacy

I, too, couldn't put this book down, because I was anxious to find out what was going to happen to Isaac and Shirin. My book group recently read the graphic novels "Persepolis" and "Persepolis 2" which take place in Iran at the same time and are a good companion to this book. One of the book group members, Kari -- who also reads this blog -- and I have read a lot of Holocaust fiction and non-fiction, and she remarked how "Persepolis" reminded her of some of that, and I would say the same thing about "The Septembers of Shiraz" -- the terror of not knowing if someone would grab you around the next corner is so riveting and scary. Circumstances changed overnight for these families and they were often powerless to fight them. I enjoyed the rotation of storylines, but had a harder time seeing how Parviz fit in, except to show the distance he had from the reality of the situation. I was most moved by Isaac and Shirin's chapters -- I could feel the knot of guilt and fear in her stomach through Sofer's writing.

Like Gayle, I was struck by Isaac's -- and the family's -- transformation as he gave up material items to secure safety for all of them.

lenore

Hi Sarah,

They are both non-fiction:

Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam by Mark Bowden about the Tehran Embassy takover

and

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Miriam

Gayle, thank you so much for the opportunity to experience this book. I think her writing is so lyrical and Isaac is such a heroic figure yet also human. I could see that the author could help to process her own experience of leaving Iran through writing this book. I was totally interested in the many plot lines and although it was a tough book to read (I had to skip over the torture part) I was very caught up in what would happen to this family. I was so glad that the Amin's housekeeper was on their side and that she wished them well when they left. Her son was so evil. There was such dignity in Isaac's treatment of those who wished him harm. And his anger at his own helplessness.
This book and the characters will stay with me a long time. I am asking my book club to discuss this this coming year.
Agree- very worthwhile read.

Dawn

Not to go too far off-topic, but thank you, Lenore, for those titles ... I was curious, like Sarah.

*Reading Lolita in Tehran* was such an eye-opener for me. Our bookgroup took its name, "Upsilamba" from the "rallying cry" of the girls.

I'll look up the other book you mention.

I love books like *The Septembers of Shiraz* that revolve around a true event of great significance (with far-reaching effects). I can learn so much about the *reality* by following the well-crafted story Sofer has written.

Miriam

Gayle, Could you ask the author about her family's reaction to her book? I'm curious about that. Also tell her that I was so glad that they made it- I don't think I could have stood it if they had been caught.

Michelle

I too, really liked this book and it's story has stayed with me.

I didn't know much about this time in Iran and never realized how terrible it would have been to go through it. The story was so much richer by having each chapter told by a different perspective. I read how this was based on the author's own escape when she was 10 - so it was amazing to me how she seemed to 'nail' the chapters of Isaac.

I was struck so many times some of the beautiful word pictures she created (oh why didn't I mark them when I was reading?) - it felt like poetry that could have been written by Isaac when he was younger.

The only disappointment was that it did not continue further. I wanted to know that they met up with friends and were able to begin a new life, maybe not the same as the one they left, but one where they could feel safe and happy again.

Gayle, thank you for choosing this book!

Jessica

I really enjoyed this book too. I didn’t see the tone as dispassionate, but rather as having a quiet energy that pushed the story forward. I think any dispassionate tones reflect the distance between the way the family’s lives used to be and how they have become.

I really liked having the points of view of all of the family members to see how far reaching the pain and torture of this experience stretched. I was really drawn into Shirin’s narration and wondered how much of her character’s experiences in the book were autobiographical for Dalia.
I asked Gayle to ask her if she ever stole any files.

Stephanie C – I think the bit with Parviz and the Rachel was there to contrast with the situation with religion Isaac was facing in prison. Even though Isaac and his family led a pretty secular life he was prosecuted for being Jewish. With Parviz and Rachel, Mr. Mendelson disapproves of Parviz as a potential mate for his daughter because he is not Jewish enough.

Gayle, thanks so much for hosting! I’ve been working on my review for my blog but wanted to wait to see if anything else sparked a new thought after reading the comments today.

Robin

I absolutely loved this book. But don't be mistaken that it is a fun summer by the pool type of read. I had no problems puting it down and absorbing it's difficult content.

I found the main characters to be very even toned too. And I found myself getting upset with myself for having this thought. Of course they have flat affact. They don't have much to happy about. It makes sense that all the characters are depressed. I think this is realty for people living in war-torn and poverty places. They do become numb.

I also think the ending is perfect.

Dawn

re: relationship between Parviz and Rachel

I was leafing through the book as I finished my review tonight, and came across a passage I had marked (p. 278 in the Ecco paperback): "He realizes that his anxiety is caused ... also by the belief, however irrational, that having tainted her sanctity, he has also spoiled his prayer for his father's safe return. She had, after all, been his liaison to God."

Parviz (and his family) hasn't lived a life of faith; his faith is celebrated only at holidays and funerals. Rachel was his hope for the existence of a compassionate God.

(I may be stretching it here, but that passage jumped out at me as I flipped through ... Did anyone else see/think this?)

Sarah

“Septembers of Shiraz” is a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down. I read the bulk of it during Jury Duty. It is certainly a thought provoking book that doesn’t leave one feeling too optimistic about human nature. Perhaps the heaviest, most upsetting aspect of the book for me was Shirin’s depression. It was clear to me that the girl was depressed, and the thought of a depressed nine year old is highly disturbing.

I found Sofer’s portrayal of complex issues between the “haves” and “have nots” to be very effective. Immediately after finishing “Septembers of Shiraz,” I read “The Space Between Us,” by Thrity Umrigar, and I thought that both authors did an excellent job of exploring this complicated issue.

Obviously I was relieved when Isaac secured his release from prison. However, the way in which he did this was deeply unsettling. Was it realistic that Isaac was disturbed, but not tormented, by the reality that his ability to buy his way of prison probably resulted in the torture and death of others? Perhaps Sofer could have explored this more fully. While Isaac didn’t necessarily come across as a pillar of morality at all times, he was clearly a decent man, and I think his actions would have weighed more heavily on him than they appeared to. Perhaps he felt as though the benefit to his family of his release outweighed the possible consequences on others, but I still think this would have weighed on his conscience more gravely, and could have been explored more deeply.

I have recommended this book to several others, and am definitely glad I read it. Thank you, Gayle, for providing us with the opportunity to read and discuss such a thought provoking novel.

lenore

I was thinking about the dog quite a bit last night and how it probably saved their lives (guards didn't go into the garden to investigate). I also liked how it let Shirin in the gate when no one was home. And then she had to be abandoned a second time. That was pretty heartbreaking.

bethany canfield

I love this book! I am amazed at the voice in it, the voice is so strong and the characters are captivating. I enjoy the dual story books, such as this one, there is present and a past this makes me feel like I know the characters much more intimately.

The writing is incredible, gentle, but strong and completely beautiful.

I recently read Persepolis I and II and while it is completely different that this book, I was very happy to read about Iran again. I am so intrigued by cultures that we seem often able to misunderstand.

I loved this book!!! A completely wonderful book, with so much to tell.

Carol

I think the dispassionate tone reflected the emotions of the characters not just as the story was taking place, but how their life had been for some time. I think Isaac and Farnaz's marriage had become routine and stale and that the things they had accumulated were often the only way they connected.

I was a little disappointed that in the end, although horrible things had happened to them, the characters hadn't really changed much. They still considered their servants family and were unable to see that the servants definitely didn't feel the same. Isaac still had hidden gems and money in the bank. Getting out of the country was going to be dangerous, but there was money to make it as safe as possible and money to start their lives over wherever they chose. And did Isaac refuse to give Morteza the perfect diamond to once again gain control that he had lost in prison or because he had bought it for Fornaz, or just because he knew its worth and was unwilling to part with it? I guess these traits kept the characters real and not just victims.

These criticisms aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will recommend it to my book club. Also I thought Ms. Sofer had some beautiful and unique phrases set up against a horrific story:
"the refinery gurgled"
"his wife's salty laughter"
"the sun approving their langour"
"her guitar-shaped back"
"addressed one another with the caution of a bare foot avoiding shards of glass"

Thanks, Ms. Sofer, for sharing your story and your gift of writing.

Thanks, Gayle, for bringing the book to my attention.

Ti

This is directed to Dawn... You know, I did think of that but it also reminded me that in times of crisis, people often look to God for guidance even if they are not religious. Just like Isaac counting how many timed a pair of shoes went by, even was good.. odd was bad. It was his way of looking to God.

TLB

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the plot was fascinating and I liked the way the author had three parallel narratives going. Especially memorable: the tension around Shirin’s secret files; and the almost imperceptible romance between Parviz and Rachel. My only complaint about plot is that I wish some of the stories had been fleshed out a little more. I would have enjoyed knowing more about how Parviz’s life continued. I also wondered why he wasn’t more relieved to escape conscription into the Iran Iraq war. I was surprised that he did not connect with any other young men who had escaped Iran.

Regarding the prison scenes: I was disappointed in the almost monotone voice Sofer used to describe Isaac’s time there. Certainly the subject matter warranted some more forceful language. I felt like a more skilled writer would have found a way to convey the horror and the deep fear that must consume a person in such a place.

What I will remember most about this book is the juxtaposition of the mundane and the epic/tragic; how you go off to work one day and that evening you find yourself living from second to second under the threat of torture and death.

I hope Dalia Sofer writes more.

Lisamm

I skimmed the review and comments because I am not quite done with the book.. I am trying!! It's really hard to find time with the kids home for the summer. I hope to finish it tonight and then I'll come back!

Gayle

Thank you to all for the excellent comments and discussion! I am enjoying reading what everyone thought of the book and some of the themes that have been discussed.

MDemyan

I love the even tone throughout the book. I thought it allowed for one of the most omnipresent narrations I've read. It allowed the reader to project intensity when needed.

My two quips about the book:
Parviz's story was very underdeveloped. I wanted to know/read more about him. Alternatively, I thought he should have been more of a presence with his family in Iran.

My other issue is the ending. While the whole book was such a page turner, I thought the ending, well, just ended. It could have been developed further. I thought Parviz again, was left without much thought in end of the story. Also, I think I would have preferred either an ending with more suspense or more wrap-up. It was blah and didn't go with the rest of the book.

One of the highlights of reading Septembers of Shiraz for me, was wanting to know more about the Iranian revolution. I immediately went and picked up Persepolis, which I highly recommend.

Lisa C

I couldn't put this book down and read it in a day. I thought the depiction of Isaac's imprisonment and life prior to prison was so vivid and realistic. He knew exactly when his time was up and he dealt with his confinement in survival mode and then some. Farnaz was also a very believeable character and I enjoyed being in her mind, hearing her insecurities, doubts, and fears, yet always doing what's within her power to get closer to the truth. She exhibited much bravery in dealing with Issac's brother and gave him money to save his life, even though she knew she'd never be repaid. This act, her quest to find her husband and uphold his reputation, showed much compassion. I thought she was even compassionate with her maid, even though they weren't on the same social scale.

I was happy with the ending and know the family endured more than most. They were lucky though because without there money, this book would be telling a quite different ending.

Robin

What did anyone think of the prison guard that friended Isaac some?

susan

Hi Gayle,
Sorry it took so long to post my thoughts. Number one I was excited when I found out we were doing this book. As our Jewish book club will be reading this in a few months. The book has recieved a few Jewish awards too.
I had a hard time to figure how I would write my comment. Because one person left a comment why was the son even mentioned in the book. She thought he was just a filler. I will comment about that later. I will just say religiously, she put him there for that reason.
Here are my thoughts. I liked the book. I will not say I enjoyed it because it was a hard book to get through. But I did like each person's view of what they were dealing with. The mother( Fernaz), Issac, the son(Parviz), and the young daughter(Shirin).
The father was put in jail for being a Zionist spy, there was alot of antisemitism written here for a reason. It is very scary to be a jew in the middle east especially when you don't live in Israel. Most Jews left Iran before the 70's. There are not any Jews left in Iraq. Or if there are, only a few. So when Issac was called a Zionist spy that was very scary for him and his family. He did not know if he would be killed.
The jailers, and the prisoners were hard to swallow. That was the treatment that went on, then and I am sure is going on now. There was one jailer who was kind to him.
Then his wife Farnaz, was having a hard time dealing with who to trust. When she thought her housekeeper stole the ring.
And then finds out she did not steal it.
The housekeeper's son and a others turned their back on Issac. They raided his business while he was in jail. Their excuse we are keeping the gems for safe keeping. Farnaz knew this was a lie. But what could she do?? But now she could not trust anyone. The police came to her house to search and see if they could find any proof. Shiran, stole the files and buried them in the back yard. I am not sure it was something she could control. Or just some attention she wanted. Because chilldren at that age want attention good or bad from their parents. She was not getting any attention from her mother. Since her mother was so worried about Isaac.
The older son, Parviz left Iran to go to US in Brooklyn, NY. (If you don't know Brooklyn is the mecca of Jewish living for religious Jews.)
Parviz is the cement that builds on to the religious, and spiritual search for something in his life. There is not much that even is mentioned in the book about religion. Until the son connects with Rachel.
There is a part when they go to the park. Parviz wants to eat a hot dog. She makes a comment and he realizes that he doesn't want her to change her style for him. And he doesn't think he can either.
Observant Jews have a hard time dealing with this.
They either tolerate or not befriend that person.
The other when the father
"Unles you are willing to live a life of Hassudus, of observing orthodox practices.My Rachel, he says looking across the room, with sad, worried eyes, is already confused, she has a heart in both worlds, here and outside. I don't want to introduce temptationn to her. But, shouldn't she be the one to decide? Parviz says, trying to temper the nervousness in his voice, you can't force spirituality on someone."
When Issac gets out the family decide reluctantly that they have to leave the country. My thought is how horrible to leave the elderly parents behind. That must have been awful. To leave your elderly mother behind and you most likely will never see them again. I wonder if this happened to the author. It probably did not have as a great impact since she was a young child. But for the parents it must have been awful. I can't even imagine. At the end, the family was trying to keep the secret from the hosekeeper that they were leaving the country. They find that she knew and wished them well.
This part scared me I thought of the holocaust. Who can you trust? will they turn you in?? But she did not.
There were 2 parts at the end of the book where I wanted to quote the author." Why the constant indignation at a man who dares to live well? Does living well imply selfishness? Was he-Issac Amin-A selfish man??
The answer, I think that every one gets jealous over someone who has more of something for some reason. The rich are always giving to charities. But you still hear people making comments.
This is the basis of the title of the book, when the family decides when to leave.
September, the young one says," In the summertime traffic is high because of the warmer weather. But the chances of getting caught are higher as well, in September the traffic is lighter but the weather is still tolerable.
I liked the authors writing,and her style.
If the author wrote about what happened when they left. It would not have the same impact. I don't like books that are wrapped in a pretty bow.
I am sorry if I put too much of a Jewish spin on this. Thats why I wasn't sure how to post.
Thanks Again. You can visit my blog to see my post.

susan

I read another post who stated they wanted to see more violence and reality in the jail. I agreed then thought too much violence would have turned off many readers. I agree that there was not alot character developement in Parviz. But I felt that the story belonged the family in Iran. Maybe the author wanted you to ask the questions not her answer them.

Kelly

I confess that I have not finished this book yet but it is not for lack of interest! I think Sofer is an excellent writer. Her prose is simple and unadorned, and I think that is very suitable for the culture and events she is writing about. She can be very poetic, however. Every once in a while, a sentence appears that takes my breath away for its beauty. For example, when Parviz brings Rachel her coat, she cuts him off abruptly, and he thinks, "How unyielding is that space between connection and interruption--one false move, one misspoken word, and you find yourself on the wrong side of things." How ironic that Parviz is thinking this, when at the same time his father is experiencing it to a much higher degree.

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