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Saved by Beauty: Adventures of an American Romantic in Iran Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307587738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307587732
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As a young man, British-American author Housden (Chasing Rumi) found himself drawn to Iran-its poetry, music, and even the signature blue color of its mosques, but only in his 60s was he able to visit the country and attempt to unlock its secrets. "The image of Iran as a dark and scary place," writes Housden, "remains a difficult one to dislodge from the collective imagination…I wanted to see if the Iran of today could give substance and value to the images I had cherished for decades." A lyrical panorama of contemporary Persian politics and culture, this book gives contour and nuance to our idea of Iran, and introduces us to complex, very memorable characters-from the artists who refuse to live elsewhere, despite governmental limitations, to the poetry-quoting intelligence agents who threaten the author with prison. (May)
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Review

"Both readers new to Housden and fans of his poetry will treasure this memorable account of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Even better, his insights are also sure to inform and maybe even re-form preconceived notions many hold about Iran. It is impossible not to lose oneself in Housden's many-faceted narrative."
Booklist, starred review

"A lyrical panorama of contemporary Persian politics and culture, this book gives contour and nuance to our idea of Iran, and introduces us to complex, very memorable characters."Publishers Weekly, starred review

The eloquent account of a Western poet’s encounters with the land, culture and people of Iran...soulful and uplifting.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Moving…Ardently pursuing his personal pilgrim’s path, Housden composes a poignant picture-puzzle of modern Iran.” – National Geographic Traveler 

More About the Author

Roger Housden grew up in St.Catherine's Valley, a cleft in the Cotswolds on the edge of Bath, in England. He has led contemplative journeys all over the world, and in an earlier life was a freelance feature writer for The Guardian newspaper and an interviewer for the BBC. He has been a full-time author since 1997.

He is the author of twenty books on poetry, art, and travel,including the bestselling Ten Poems series which started in 2001 with Ten Poems to Change Your Life. His next book, due to be published by Sounds True in March 2014,is called Keeping the Faith Without a Religion. Roger emigrated to the United States in 1998 and now lives in Marin County, California.

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An author's style in writing is their identity , its who they are.
Sawsan Obeid_Zeki
In this book, poetry surges from every encounter, every place, every description and the reader can feel Roger Housden's attunement with Iran in a passionate way.
Christiane Prendergast
Thank you, Mr. Housden, I look forward to the next leg of your spiritual journey, and of course, the book.
Whitelightone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christiane Prendergast on May 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In this book, poetry surges from every encounter, every place, every description and the reader can feel Roger Housden's attunement with Iran in a passionate way. Beauty indeed! And Rumi whispers all along in the midst of the most enchanting places as well as in the sobering reality of the political control that lingers at every step. I love this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a lover of travel literature, I recently came across Roger Housden's Saved By Beauty in my favorite used bookstore, and immediately opened the book the moment I arrived home. This memoir of Roger's meanderings from city to city uncovering the true heart of Iran's people and culture left me in awe. From Tehran to Tabriz, from Shiraz to Isfahan, from the heart of the ancient ruins of Persepolis, to dusty deserts and mountain citadels, Housden's ability to evoke the beauty and integrity of Iran's soul pours out in poetic and heartfelt prose. Meeting people of all walks of life, merchants, muezzins, politicians and poets, readers will become thoroughly engulfed in Iranian history, myth, religious beliefs and current affairs amidst it's people young and old. As Roger navigates through the snaking streets of merchant bazaars, and gracefully steps into the serene yet vibrant spirit of Iran's infamous blue mosques, he surrounds the reader and himself with the lore and legend and the people that live in the heart of the Middle East.

As the reader of this wonderful armchair travel gem, you are sure to feel the intricately woven carpets beneath your feet, smell the spices of the open-air market place, hear the jingle of bells, and the call of prayer from every steepled minaret. Housden shows us the appreciation and dedication to surrounding their lives with beauty as only the Iranians can.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sawsan Obeid_Zeki on June 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Writing a review about Roger Housden's Saved by beauty has not been easy. I have to say, I've never felt a massive sense of duty to publicly review a book before, until Housden`s Saved By Beauty. But if there was a purpose in me reading it, its so that I can share my opinion of the book!!!

I personally LOVE Roger Housden's style. But even if I didn't , I would not criticize it. An author's style in writing is their identity , its who they are. It's the responsibility of the reader to figure it out , so as to get the most out of what they read. I must add that some are easier to figure out.

To call it a travel log is an understatement. Also, to say that the book speaks of his romantic notion of Iran is wrong, because it is not a notion any more. His enthusiasm radiates intensely throughout the narrative, loved the details, in fact I didn't want it to end.

This book is a rare occurrence, where a capable author, with special skills, met with the ,once in a God knows how long , opportunity to travel to some place, and write about his experience. This place happened to be Iran. He did not blind him self to the difficulties or the negativities of living there, he chose not to let it obscure him from seeing the beauty. And there is beauty every where on earth, beauty and soul in every nation, every civilization, and every religion. Housden's place of choice to explore to bring a piece of to the rest of the world to see, was Persia/Iran. And that is why I wish there will be a Roger Housden out there to write about every nation in history for the rest of the world's delight. A delight that happens to be a necessity as well.

This is a master piece in its beauty. And I hope you know how instrumental this book is, especially this time of our history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Langhaar on September 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As I also am an American romantic, hankering for the beauty and variety of the past, a past untouched by rude multi-nationals, and as I share Roger Housden's thrill with the stunning blue of blue domes (although I've never stood before one), I knew I was going to love this book. The early twentieth-century traveler of the Middle East, Freya Stark, speaks of blue domes that "melt into a heaven of their own colour..." Roger Housden introduces the reader to an Iran unknown by the West, an Iran that is affluent in riches, both of people and of things, and in its fabulous traces of a pre-technological world--an Iran that is systematically ignored by the Western media. He makes the reader aware of what the Persians gave to the world, with their talent and attention to detail, including the cultivated garden! As Herakleitos said, "Knowledge is not intelligence." Knowledge must be married to beauty, for the attainment of wisdom. Thank you, Roger Housden, for the joy you gave me with your wise and beautiful book.
Bonnie Langhaar
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Whitelightone on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed several of Roger Housden's books so far, and while Iran as a people and culture had never caught my interest in the past except for Rumi's poetry, his writing of his account there was enough to bring this land and its people into vividness and depth to me. Thank you, Mr. Housden, I look forward to the next leg of your spiritual journey, and of course, the book.
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