Synopses & Reviews
In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappear-ance, 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.
"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.)
"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." Library Journal (starred review)
"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." Vendela Vida
"Sofer paints a complicated picture of postrevolutionary Iran... [A] powerful story honestly told." Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor
"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." Clare Messud, The New York Times
"One initially fears that The Septembers of Shiraz will amount to an unremitting catalog of misery, but Ms. Sofer is more subtle than that." Wall Street Journal
"Sofer herself emigrated from post-revolutionary Iran to New York, and her debut resonates with the empathy derived from that journey." Booklist
"[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." Chicago Tribune
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.
About the Author
Dalia Sofer was born in Iran and fled at the age of ten to the United States with her family. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been a resident at Yaddo. A graduate of the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College, she lives in New York City.