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The Age of Orphans

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the 20th century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress and modernity who cannot help but leave behind a shadow that yearns for the impossible dreams of love, land and home. Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he becomes orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new Shah, Reza Pahlavi I.; he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, re-named Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step. The Age of Orphans follows Reza on his meteoric rise in ranks, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman and his eventual deployment, as Capitan, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and it is here that his carefully crafted persona begins to fissure and crack. Laleh Khadivi, winner of the 2008 Whiting Writers' Award, was born in Esfahan, Iran, in 1977, but fled with her family to the United States in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution. The Age of Orphans is the first novel in a projected trilogy that will trace three generations of a Kurdish family--based loosely on her own--as they make their way to the United States and undergo the profound transformations of the immigrant experience. Winner of the Whiting Writers' Award

Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros Mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he is orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new shah, he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, renamed Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step. The Age of Orphans follows Reza through his meteoric rise in rank, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman, and his eventual deployment, as a colonel, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and his carefully crafted persona begins to crack.

Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, Laleh Khadivi's The Age of Orphans tells the story of a Kurdish boy forced to betray his people in service of the new Iranian nation, and the tragic consequences as he grows into manhood. It is the story of the twentieth-century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress, and modernity, who cannot help but yearn for the impossible dreams of love, land, and home.

This is a stunning debut . . . unflinching, gorgeously poetic, intimate yet with a wondrous sweep of history. To read the tale of Reza Khourdi is to take a journey deep inside the darkest cavity of the heart.--Cristina Garcia, author of the National Book Award finalist Dreaming in Cuban

Laleh Khadivi is genuinely gifted and ruthless with that gift. We are all so fortunate that she is, for it takes both talent and ruthlessness to delve this deeply into an epic life.--Dorothy Allison, author of the National Book Award finalist Bastard Out of Carolina

An arresting, powerful, transformative, unflinching, epic, and deeply affecting novel.--Chris Abani, author of Graceland

With] a lyrical style reminiscent of . . . Michael Ondaatje . . . The Age of Orphans evocatively captures the desperate longing for home, family and a life erased. It's an affecting tale.--The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Khadivi limns the emotional and physical brutality of the tribal-suppression campaign and Reza's splintering psyche in language both fierce and poetic.--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In 1921 Persia, after a battlefield massacre, a Kurdish orphan is conscripted into the shah's army and given a new identity. Khadivi's debut spans almost six decades, during which the boy, renamed Reza Khourdi by the authorities, first proves his loyalty and his brutality and then--on the ground that his knowledge of Kurdish deviousness will be invaluable--is promoted to captain and sent to his hometown, Kermanshah. Reza's task is to be ruthless in stamping out revolts. The homecoming reignites old emotions, reminds Reza of the innocent falcon-loving mama's boy he once was but can never be again--and threatens to crack his facade and cost him the authority that is his dearest, almost his only, possession. Before his return, Reza marries a Tehrani woman, Meena. Their tragic, loveless marriage yields six children, until Reza--his wife is eight months pregnant with their seventh child--one day poisons her tea. When her brothers come up from the capital and confront him with the overwhelming evidence of his crime--Meena's blood contains cyanide, arsenic and bleach--Reza, in the book's most chilling scene, makes a ceremony of surrendering and has himself locked up by his adjutant, the jailer in the town's one cell, which has never before been used. The magistrate, another underling, takes down the brothers' evidence, laughing all the while. The next morning, Reza has himself released. The historical material has unmistakable power.--Kirkus Reviews

Khadivi's writing . . . is luminous in this tragic story of an 'orphan of the earth, ' which is rendered in prose that is by turns graphic and poetic.--Booklist

The 2008 recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, Khadivi offers a remarkable first novel that does not shy away from harsh subject matter. This first installment in a trilogy about three generations of Kurdish men is set in Persia in the 1920s as

Synopsis:

"The Age of Orphans" tells the heart-wrenching story of a Kurdish boy who is forced to betray his people in service of the new Iranian nation, and the tragic consequences as he grows into manhood.

Synopsis:

Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the 20th century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress and modernity who cannot help but leave behind a shadow that yearns for the impossible dreams of love, land and home.

Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he becomes orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new Shah, Reza Pahlavi I.; he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, re-named Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step.

The Age of Orphans follows Reza on his meteoric rise in ranks, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman and his eventual deployment, as Capitan, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and it is here that his carefully crafted persona begins to fissure and crack.

Synopsis:

“Khadivi…has a lyrical style reminiscent of…Michael Ondaatje…The Age of Orphans evocatively captures the desperate longing for home, family and a life erased. Its an affecting tale.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

Orphaned in a massacre on his Kurdish village, Reza Khourdi is adopted by the assailants and conscripted into the army of Iran. Reza is promoted to the rank of captain, marries an educated Tehrani woman, and slowly forgets the brutality of his past. But when he is deployed back to the mountains of his youth to suppress the nationalist uprisings of the still defiant Kurds, the life he has built for himself begins to crumble. The Age of Orphans is a literary debut of unmistakable power.

About the Author

Laleh Khadivi was born in Esfahan, Iran, in 1977, but left with her family in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution. The Age of Orphans is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy about three generations of Kurdish men.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781608190423
Author:
Khadivi, Laleh
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Coming of age
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-Coming of Age
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.32 x 6.38 x 0.805 in
Age Level:
Literature-Coming of Age

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age

The Age of Orphans Used Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608190423 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "The Age of Orphans" tells the heart-wrenching story of a Kurdish boy who is forced to betray his people in service of the new Iranian nation, and the tragic consequences as he grows into manhood.
"Synopsis" by ,
Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the 20th century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress and modernity who cannot help but leave behind a shadow that yearns for the impossible dreams of love, land and home.

Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he becomes orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new Shah, Reza Pahlavi I.; he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, re-named Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step.

The Age of Orphans follows Reza on his meteoric rise in ranks, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman and his eventual deployment, as Capitan, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and it is here that his carefully crafted persona begins to fissure and crack.

"Synopsis" by ,
“Khadivi…has a lyrical style reminiscent of…Michael Ondaatje…The Age of Orphans evocatively captures the desperate longing for home, family and a life erased. Its an affecting tale.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

Orphaned in a massacre on his Kurdish village, Reza Khourdi is adopted by the assailants and conscripted into the army of Iran. Reza is promoted to the rank of captain, marries an educated Tehrani woman, and slowly forgets the brutality of his past. But when he is deployed back to the mountains of his youth to suppress the nationalist uprisings of the still defiant Kurds, the life he has built for himself begins to crumble. The Age of Orphans is a literary debut of unmistakable power.

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