Reading guide for Moon Brow by Sara Khalili, Shahriar Mandanipour

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Moon Brow by Sara Khalili, Shahriar Mandanipour X
Moon Brow by Sara Khalili, Shahriar Mandanipour
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    Apr 2018, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jamie Samson
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. How does the narration, alternating between two angel scribes that sit on Amir's shoulders,  shape your reading experience? Why do you think the author chose to write the novel this  way?
  2. Apart from the innovative narrative technique, ?Moon Brow ?is also a story that plays with time  and space. How does the non-linear progression of the narration align with the story and its  protagonist?
  3. How do the descriptions of Amir's environment—his home, the garden, the mountains, the  hospital—interplay with those of his wartime traumas, physical and psychological?
  4. What is the importance of Baba Shahu's character in Amir's journey? Is he a metaphor?
  5. How is Amir's quest to find his the remains of his arm like or unlike a traditional hero's  journey? How do the other characters—Reyhaneh, Agha Haji, Amir's mother—fit into it?
  6. What symbolic function does Amir's family garden serve?
  7. What do you think of the story of Khazar?
  8. Women play a central, if conflicted role in Amir's present and his past. How would you  describe Amir's relationships with women, and how do they change?
  9. "Moon Brow" comes from an old Persian folktale that, in a sense, is the Persian version of  Cinderella?: in Moon Brow's story, her father convinces her to kill her own mother so her  father can marry someone else. His new wife becomes her cruel stepmother, who treats the girl  as a servant. When she helps a monster at the bottom of a well, the girl receives a glowing  diamond crescent on her forehead as a reward. Why do you think Mandanipour chose this title  for his novel? Could the novel be considered a modern folktale?
  10. How might Agha Haji be a symbol or a metaphor for the Islamic Revolution and its  limitations?
  11. Mandanipour used to be the chief editor for a literary magazine that was banned in Iran, and  many of his stories have been censored in his homeland since then. How do you feel his  experiences with censorship come through in this narrative, both in terms of language and  character?
  12. If you were to categorize this novel into a genre, which one would you pick? Why?
  13. How did reading this novel alter your perceptions of Iran, the Islamic Revolution, and the Iraq-Iran war?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Restless Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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Beyond the Book:
  The Iran-Iraq War

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