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During the Reign of the Queen of Persia Paperback – September 29, 1996

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Prize for First Fiction by an American author
 
Winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction, given by the University of Rochester to women writers

“Moving, unusual and accomplished . . . During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is a Norman Rockwell painting gone bad, the underside of the idyllic hometown, main-street, down-on-the-farm dream of Middle America.” —Margaret Atwood, The New York Times

“A beautifully written novel of pain and pride.” —Rita Mae Brown

“Joan Chase is like an archaeologist of our recent past and present, reading our traces back to us, showing us to ourselves freshly discovered and understood.”
—Russell Banks
 
“Absorbing and wonderfully written.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant and compelling.... A lush lyrical world of unsparing reality.” —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
 
During the Reign of the Queen of Persia offers an exoticism of the emotions and daily life exhilarated with the richness and evocativeness of poetry. It is also one of the few contemporary novels of women’s lives for which one need make no allowances, grant no compromised sympathy. Joan Chase hasn’t any message of visible politics, simply an artist’s passion for rendering reality accurately, a love of the tactile world, of sensual experience, and a willingness to confront, without resolving, her characters’ grievous ambiguities.... Splendid and durable.” —The Washington Post Book World
 
“Eloquent, compelling, and honest.” —San Francisco Chronicle Review
 
“Appealing and original.... Read the novel once for the characters, sorting out the strands of their lives, seen through eyes gone from innocence to knowing. It should be read again immediately for its language and imagery, the memory of a dappled sunshine, of the indomitable fierce Gram, and for its understanding of an endangered species called the American family.” —Detroit Free Press
 
“Remarkably original.” —Star-Telegram (Forth Worth)
 
“An absolutely first-class novel.... The candid viewing of events through four girls’ eyes is a wonderfully effective narrative technique that does much to give the book its rough-grained, realistic texture.... The novel, sparely elegant in style and precise in nuance, turns over our romanticized notions of our rural past.” —Chicago Sun-Times
 
During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is beautifully written and evocative, with the most richly imagined characters I have come across in a long time. Its surprising choice of narrators—not I or he or she, but we—is just one indication of its originality.” —Anne Tyler
 
“There are several ways of interpreting Joan Chase’s remarkable first novel: as a romantic saga about life back on the farm; as the struggle of three generations of women against the forces of life and men; as an accomplished grouping of family portraits. But this is one of those books that can’t be characterized solely in terms of plot or thematic content, and one must emphasize the writing itself—not everyone can write this kind of prose. It is made of rhythms, images and metaphors that involve both sense and spirit and allow the reader, through the narrator, to experience a tone of the keenest excitement and awe.” —Chicago Tribune

“This is novelistic imagination with no elaborate scaffolding between reader and author — just direct immersion in a stream of subjectivity and life we come to know through that immersion itself…A novel so vivid, risky, and beautiful…from it we can learn to trust our stories — to finger the jagged grain of those trees in our childhood Edens, those lost orchards of memory — and let them take us where they need to go.” —Amy Weldon, The Millions


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

"Daily life exhilarated with the richness and evocativeness of poetry."

WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

The novel that is sweeping the country. A beautiful story of 20th-century womanhood, of Gram, the Queen of Persia herself, who rules a house where five daughters and four granddaughters spin out the tragedies and triumphs of rural life in the 1950's.

From the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Ballantine Books trade ed edition (September 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345410467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345410467
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,812,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By john.bangert@leland.stanford.edu on October 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
The Queen of Persia refers to the matriarch of a rural midwest family fifty or so years ago. If you enjoy a book that is at least equally concerned with its moments as it is with where it is going, then this book will probably be good for you. It has been over two years since I read this book and I can still see and feel what Joan Chase wrote ... the overall atmosphere and setting as well as the individuals involved.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Earlene Fowler on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Years ago when I definitely couldn't afford to buy books, much less hard cover books, I bought this book after reading it at the libary. It remains one of my all time favorite books. The characters are unforgettable and the author's style and voice just stunning. I reread it every so often just because it gives me such pleasure and joy. I will always be grateful that Ms. Chase wrote this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By runeliza on August 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have given this novel to countless friends and relatives, particularly those who say "What should I read?" Beautiful, lyrical prose that still tells a story (sometimes beautiful, lyrical prose doesn't). I love the collective voice of the narrator(s) -- two sets of sisters, all cousins. A masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Shaw on August 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book after reading several reviews of it. I especially liked the combined voices of the four girls..Gram herself was a complicated woman which I grew to like most of the time..A good deal if this book revolves around Grace and her illness. The reactions of all the characters seemed lifelike r. I plan to suggest this book to my book group and a book has to be rely good for me to do that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ruth rhoad on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The worlds of children swimming in the currents created by the adults in their lives are depicted with nuance and explosive color.. A major theme is the intricacy of feminine awakening to a sexuality and emotional tangles. The language is fresh and poetic. The characters are alive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Knit on October 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Our book group read During the Reign of the Queen of Persia. This was my 2nd Joan Chase book. I liked it as did another book group participant. A couple of the group didn't like it so much. I think Joan Chase is a very good writer. I love her use of language and love her characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cynthia Moore on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joan gives her characters a sense that is tangible. They become someone you know. Written in first person plural is unique and shows alot of the people and how they play out from others' perspectives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julia Chitwood on May 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
These three generations of women yanked at a the emotions that make us human. Gram, the family matriarch, claws and fights her way to an independent state that overtly inspires all of her daughter's and at the same time defies them to grow beyond her. The reader is left to ponder how the third generation of close knit female cousins will manage their rage at the benign neglect in some cases from those charged with their care. Only one man presents himself as supportive to the cousins, and he acknowledges the female power I the household without fear or judgement. Long live the Queen of Persia.
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