Elizabeth D. (LONGBOAT KEY, FL)
What an amazing debut novel. Not only is the writing extraordinary, the story is one that is not well known in the west - the consequences of the ongoing Iranian revolution. It starts with the gripping story of a young woman imprisoned for speaking out against the new regime in 1983. The horror of giving birth as a prisoner serves to illuminate the methods of torture, physical and emotional. Fear is the underlying emotion of a society held hostage by its ruling class. Who can be trusted? The story goes on the describe the differences in responses of three generations to unthinkable and unpredictable methods of repression. While the story is heartbreaking in part, most of all it describes the perseverance of the human spirit determined not to be destroyed even by those will kill anyone who dares to question or speak out. Love, hope and resilience guide those who make a life in spite of the fear. Highly recommended. A beautiful book.
Nancy L. (Zephyrhills, FL)
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
This book, "Children of the Jacaranda Tree" captured my heart at the first paragraph and held it hostage until the very last line. The story of the women and children of post-revolution Iran was at times, gripping and intense, and at other times sweet. I felt I was there with them, seeing and feeling what life was like for them in a city torn apart by extremists. I loved the writing. It was clear and descriptive and pulled me along to follow the journey of these women and children as they grew and matured. I highly recommend this book!
Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ)
I can't believe how good this book is. So well written, so emotional, so informative. It is a story that was on my mind for a long time after I finished it. I enjoyed Sahar Delijani's descriptive phrases. One that I especially liked: "…smelling of wood dust and expectation." I can only say—this story is outstanding, I loved it and it should be number one for 2013.
Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO)
Beautifully written, "Children of the Jacaranda Tree" reveals what really happened post Revolutionary Iran. The reader is emotionally invested from the start. The author reveals Iran, mysterious and terrifying and yet the reader can relate to love of country, family and ideals. I hope to see more books from this author with a talent for painting beautiful visuals through prose.
Joyce K. (Conway, AR)
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
This is a very dramatic story about post revolutionary Iran and the impact it had on the everyday lives of its citizens. While the thrust of the book is about the lives of three children and their fate over a period of several decades, it is also a vivid picture of what happened to thousands of people persecuted during this time. One child is born in prison, another has his family snatched away as they sit eating a meal, a third learns as an adult the real truth of her father's death. They grow up with extended family for a time but when forced to reunite with their parents who were lucky enough to escape death in prison they are naturally frightened and struggle to live with the secrets of their parent's past. They make lives in other countries protected from the past but uneasy with secrets kept from them. Some follow in their parents footsteps protesting the injustices other want nothing to do with the country they were forced to leave. This is a compelling novel possibly more so because the author was born in Tehran and her family experienced the story first hand.
Susan R. (Julian, NC)
Fantastic Debut Novel
Sahar Delejani has written a fantastic novel. It is gritty and emotional and hard to read due to the subject matter. At the same time it is uplifting and shows hope for a brighter future for Iran. The characters were well written and unforgettable -- I will be thinking about Neda, Omid and Sheida for a long time. They all managed to overcome the upheaval of their young lives and become protestors in a new wave of protests in their country. This is a novel that I will highly recommend.
Sharon B. (Rome, GA)
This is a novel about some of the children of imprisoned revolutionaries from the Iranian revolution when the Ayatollah Khomeini and his extreme Islamic followers seized power after the overthrow of the Shah. Apparently based on some of the experiences of the author's own family (she was born in 1983 in Iran, the same year as some of the characters), it describes in heartbreaking detail the consequences of a revolution that does not turn out as expected, even to some of the participants. Children being raised by grandparents while the parents are imprisoned, losing parents to mass executions, and being separated from early caregivers when the parents are released and choose to flee the country – all of these events leave scars that must be dealt with. Although well written and beautifully descriptive, this was a hard book to read, full of sadness and oppression and sorrow for a once-great country that is now a place of violence, fear and religious extremism.