Herself born in Evin prison as a daughter of political prisoners, the author crafts an important and moving portrait of a handful of families that were affected by the arrests and subsequent imprisonment in Iran following the Muslim Revolution. The novel spans the years from 1983 through 2011, and we are offered an opportunity to see how the children of these revolutionaries carry the same fire and hopes for a freer Iran as their parents. Unfortunately, they are also witnessing firsthand the same type of bloody oppression as their parents.
From the first pages, I was drawn into this novel. The story of Azar’s harrowing ordeal of being interrogated while in labor is enough to make any mother cringe. While some readers may have preferred more historical information and back story, the simple human perspective was very powerful. When reading the prison scenes, I felt as if any of these women could have been me. Further into the book we see the effects on the children. Raised by grandparents, the children were horrified to be handed to a mother who was a stranger to them when that parent was finally released from prison. Many mothers tried to leave Iran and so their children felt displaced. Returning to their home country years later proves to be equally troubling.
Gripping, powerful and important. An excellent first novel.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013