A stunning debut novel set in post-Revolutionary Iran that gives voice to the men, women, and children who won a war only to find their livesand those of their descendants - imperiled by its aftermath.
We all have a tree inside us.Finding it is just a matter of time. Neda is born in Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away. Omid, at age three, witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran's prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death, but the anguish and the horror of murder.
Neda, Omid, and Sheida are just three of the many unforgettable characters in Sahar Delijani's startling debut novel, Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran, from 1983 to 2011, it follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some connected by family, others brought together by the tide of history that forces its way into their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country's tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.
Based on the harrowing experiences of Delijani, her family, and friends, Children ofthe Jacaranda Tree is a moving, timely drama about three generations of men and women moved by love, inspired by poetry, and motivated by dreams of justice and freedom. For fans of The Kite Runner and In the Shadow of the Banyan, it is a stunningly evocative look at the intimate side of revolution and a brilliant tribute to anyone who has answered the call of history.
Only rarely have I experienced in a book such pain and horror while at the same time experiencing such beautiful writing. Sahar Delijani has written a novelized version of 3 generations of her family in Tehran, Iran. Past and present are intertwined in extremely moving and vivid prose. I can only be grateful that writers such as Sarah Delijani are brave enough to enlighten me of the horrors that exist in so many places (Toby S.) (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
This moving novel about survival, exile, and hope is worth reading, but the reader may get lost among all the details.
Delijani falls back on her family's personal experience to write this searing and somber slice-of-life novel, centered around children whose parents were singled out for persecution by the Iranian government, and scores a win with her grittiness and uncompromising realism.
Filled with compelling characters and poetic language, this beautiful and poignant novel highlights the unbreakable bond between parent and child, and a people's passionate dedication to their homeland, despite its many flaws.
Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
Set in post-revolutionary Iran, Delijanis gripping novel is a blistering indictment of tyranny, a poignant tribute to those who bear the scars of it, and a celebration of the human hearts eternal yearning for freedom.
Abigail Tarttelin, author of Golden Boy
This deeply personal account of the rich, lustrous tapestry of life, family, love and searing loss amid the Iranian revolution moved me to tears more than once. Like the characters of Children Of The Jacaranda Tree, Delijani herself is a revolutionary: a fiercely brave, beautiful and unflinching new voice.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Becky H Interesting but Disappointing I found this book to be both enormously interesting and vastly disjointed. It was difficult to follow the characters and time lines. Characters came and went with alarming frequency. Time jumped back and forth from the early days of the Iranian... Read More
Rated of 5
by Mary O. (Boston, MA) Heart and soul My favorite books are typically debut novels and this one captured my heart. Beautifully written in a poetic sense showing the depth of Sahar's soul and spirit. It describes post revolutionary Iran through the eyes of 3 characters with past and... Read More
Rated of 5
by Christopher R. (Brooklyn, NY) united by loss I was very lucky and grateful to receive this book via First Impressions. It does an excellent job of showing how individuals can be brought together by shared tragic family histories. It is effective at showing how the life of the offspring can... Read More
Rated of 5
by Debbie L. (Houston, TX) Children of the Jacaranda Tree Sahar Delijani's book was obviously written with the heart and experience of a generation that has been affected by the Iranian Cultural Revolution. In that light, the story was interesting in showing how the infants and children of the 1980s have... Read More
Rated of 5
by Laurie B. (Jacksonville, FL) Well done, not a light read Powerful story with interesting characters. Among other things demonstrates how we are more alike than different despite vastly different geographic and social settings. I would recommend this book.
Rated of 5
by Joe S. (Port Orange, FL) Wow! Wow! That's the only word I could use to explain how I felt when I finished reading this book. It is a well written, thoughtful, and moving story that, for me, was very hard to put down. It is not a "cozy" read but a powerful narrative of the... Read More
Children of the Jacaranda Tree plants its story firmly in the tumultuous landscape of Iran in the 1970s and '80s. The Shah was overthrown in the late 1970s, and political activists were full of hope for a new kind of Iran. But it was to be a fleeting hope. The new Islamic Republic of Iran threw dissenters in prison, charging them with anti-government activities. Then, in 1988, they executed many of them.
Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree, was born in Evin prison in Tehran, Iran's capital city, in 1983. Her parents had been among the many working to overthrow the monarchy. They were secularists who wanted, and hoped, for a secular republic, but instead the Islamic fundamentalists grabbed complete power and Iran became a theocracy. Many of the secular activists renewed their efforts for a democratic government and many of them ended in prison - including Delijani's parents and some of her aunts and uncles. Both Delijani's mother and aunt were pregnant at the time. Both gave birth in the prison.
From one of Irans most acclaimed and controversial contemporary writers, his first novel to appear in Englisha dazzlingly inventive work of fiction that opens a revelatory window onto what its like to live, to love, and to be an artist in todays Iran.
Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.
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