Friday, September 28, 2007

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

In The Septembers of Shiraz, Isaac Amin and his family, wife Farnaz, and daughter Shirin are in Iran after the revolution while Parviz is in America attending college. Their lives were good and prosperous until Isaac is arrested for being a wealthy Jew. While he suffers in prison, his family must come to terms with the possibly that Isaac may not be returning home. He also wonders if returning home is possible.

Sofer has created a beautiful, poignant and tragic portrait of a family in turmoil. The characters’ perspectives are presented in alternating chapters giving us insight into their daily lives and struggles. The subject matter is, at times, hard to read, especially the parts about Isaac and his prison mates. One of the sadder parts of the book for me was near the end when Farnaz compares her grief to Isaac’s. It bothered me that her grief will likely not be recognized.

I liked all of the main characters, but I was particularly fond of Shirin. She was so brave at such a young age to do what she did. I don’t think I would have been that brave. I didn’t know what to really make of Parviz. He seemed a bit detached from his family, but I guess with a pretty young woman around, his mind was elsewhere. I was amazed by one of Isaac’s prison mates (Ramin). He still had hope after suffering so much grief.

Great first book. Recommended. I really enjoyed reading it and hope to read much more from this author.

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