jnms1, August 24, 2008 (view all comments by jnms1)
A very powerful story of a Jewish family after the 1980 Iranian revolution. The father is falsely arrested and imprisoned. His family has to deal with his disappearance and their own challenges as a result of his imprisonment. Sofer's characters come alive and one feels great empathy for them.
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tjwoods2003, August 6, 2008 (view all comments by tjwoods2003)
I really loved this book up until the end and then it felt like she was in a hurry to finish it for a deadline. the story telling was great thru out the book and then just stops at the end. maybe i just missed something!
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Septembers of Shiraz describes the journey, both psychological and physical, of a Jewish family whose father is imprisoned in the first years of revolutionary Iran. It is a beautifully written expose of the trauma that occurs to individuals when there are huge political shifts — from the father's experience in prison to his ten-year-old daughter's participation in a birthday party, no facet of life is untouched by the seismic changes.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Sofer's family escaped from Iran in 1982 when she was 10, an experience that may explain the intense detail of this unnerving debut. On a September day in 1981, gem trader Isaac Amin is accosted by Revolutionary Guards at his Tehran office and imprisoned for no other crime than being Jewish in a country where Muslim fanaticism is growing daily. Being rich and having had slender ties to the Shah's regime magnify his peril. In anguish over what might be happening to his family, Isaac watches the brutal mutilation and executions of prisoners around him. His wife, Farnaz, struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter, Shirin, steals files from the home of a playmate whose father is in charge of the prison that holds her father. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac's nonreligious son, Parviz, struggles without his family's money and falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Nicely layered, the story shimmers with past secrets and hidden motivations. The dialogue, while stiff, allows the various characters to come through. Sofer's dramatization of just-post-revolutionary Iran captures its small tensions and larger brutalities, which play vividly upon a family that cannot, even if it wishes to, conform." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Library Journal (starred review),
"This is a story that needs to be told, as a reminder of how political and religious ideologies can destroy individuals, families, and societies… The family and political issues raised in the book are timely and ripe for discussion."
by Vendela Vida,
"The Septembers of Shiraz is one of the most beautiful first novels I've ever come across. Dalia Sofer courageously takes on ambitious topics — political upheaval in Iran, imprisonment, religion, and betrayal — and handles them with the skills of a master story-teller. Sofer's writing is full of well-observed details, compassion, and most importantly, hope. It is a rare book in a rare genre: the family love story."
by Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor,
"Sofer paints a complicated picture of postrevolutionary Iran... [A] powerful story honestly told."
by Clare Messud, The New York Times,
"In this fickle literary world, it's impossible to predict whether Sofer's novel will become a classic, but it certainly stands a chance.... The Septembers of Shiraz is miraculously light in its touch, as beautiful and delicate as a book about suffering can be."
by Wall Street Journal,
"One initially fears that The Septembers of Shiraz will amount to an unremitting catalog of misery, but Ms. Sofer is more subtle than that."
"Sofer herself emigrated from post-revolutionary Iran to New York, and her debut resonates with the empathy derived from that journey."
by Chicago Tribune,
"[Sofer]...seems wise beyond her years, and her prose, sturdy always, sometimes offers us consolation we weren't aware we needed even as we grasp it with both hands."
by Harper Collins,
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 terrors of prison, and his wife feverishly searches for him, his children struggle with the realization that their family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger.
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