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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.
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.
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.
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.
Nancy L. (Denver, NC)
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
It's hard to believe that extremely religious people are so heartless. Even though that is the case in the US sometimes, it has never been as wicked as in Iran.
Toby S. (Seattle, WA)
I'm stunned by this book and extremely moved
A child is born while the mother and father are in prison as revolutionaries. The mother's sisters are also in prison - their children being cared for by an aunt and grandmother. The family's story is continued into the following years with heartbreaking details as to how they are affected by their history. Sad but true.
Only rarely have I experienced in a book such pain and horror while at the same time experiencing such beautiful writing. The author, Sahar Delijani has written a novelized version of 3 generations of her family in Tehran, Iran.
Starting with the imprisonment and execution of some of her family members in 1983 in Evin Prison the author proceeds through two more generations until some of the third generation members of the family have emigrated to other countries by 2011.
Past and present are intertwined in extremely moving and vivid prose. Unbearable secrets are gradually revealed to the younger generations. I have read many books dealing with the worst world situations (Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany, Rwanda and more) and 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.
I highly recommend "Children of the Jacaranda" although it is so painful to read. I often needed to take a break with tears in my eyes although I couldn't NOT finish it! This is a first-rate fictionalized memoir.
This story grabbed me from the first paragraph. It is set in post-revolutionary Iran, and delves into how the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war forever changed families' lives. This was a war in which many thousands of people were executed, others spending years living in inhumane prison conditions. The author’s inspiration comes from her own family that was affected by this war, an uncle executed and her parents imprisoned. Those readers looking for a story that is action packed will not find that here. The chapters follow the normal routines of husbands, wives, fathers, sons, and daughters coping to make the best of an awful situation, their stories intertwining. The resilience of these people in such atrocious conditions is stunning. The details contained within will stay with me for a long time.