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Rooftops of Tehran: A Novel Paperback – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in 1970s Iran during the shah's regime, this earnest, semiautobiographical debut novel is told from the perspective of bookish 17-year-old Pasha Shahed, who, along with his best friend Ahmed, plays soccer, goofs off and thinks about girls. But Pasha pines for one girl in particular—his neighbor Zari, betrothed since birth to Pasha's mentor, the neighborhood radical, Ramin Sobhi, whom everyone calls Doctor. Over a summer Ahmed orchestrates daily meetups with his own beloved, Faheemeh, and includes Pasha and Zari. [...] The prose has the simplicity of a nonnative English speaker, which could be seen as clichéd (treasure of love, dark winter of my life) or charmingly romantic. Seraji captures the thoughts and emotions of a young boy and creates a moving portrait of the history and customs of the Persians and life in Iran during this period. (May)
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Pasha Shahed is a typical teenage boy who likes hanging out with his friends on the rooftop terrace of his house, dreaming about life, love, and what the future holds. What makes this 17-year-old different is that he is living under the harsh reign of the shah in Iran during the summer of 1973. With his biggest worry being his feelings for Zari, the girl next door who has been promised to another since birth, Pasha has a rude awakening[...] Told in Pasha’s unique voice and partially in flashback, Seraji’s wonderful coming-of-age story is at times funny and sweet as well as thought-provoking and heart-wrenching. --Carolyn Kubisz
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Top Customer Reviews
Pasha, Ahmed, Zari and Faheemah are the main characters. Pasha and Ahmed spend many hours on his rooftop talking, joking, dreaming of the love of their lives and contemplating life. Pasha fantasized being with Zari but she was to married off to a childhood friend. While Ahmed wanted to be with Faheemah and ended up dating with the approval of her parents. Pasha and his friends live in Iran in the 1970's where they are skeptical of religion, arrange marriage and the government of their country. The US is viewed as a place of opportunity but as a place that causes problems.
By reading this book I was able to gain insight to middle class life in Iran during the 1970's until the rule of the Shah. This is a coming of age book that appears simple in the beginning but as the story progresses life gets complicated due to arranged marriage customs, and modern ideas from western culture. School is a place that is run by petty tyrants and when rules are not obeyed punishment is what follows. At the core, is the fundamentalism of Iran's future.
The SAVAK is present everywhere and people of all ages feel their impact. SAVAK have an impact on Iranian culture and not in a good way. They cause confusion, heartbreak and even death.
This story is written in a fast paced narrative perspective. The author has developed the characters well. At the end of the story I felt like I was sitting on the rooftop with Pasha experiencing his life, the twists, the secrets and all that effected his life with him.
I give this book a 5/5 star rating
Thank you for reading. Please comment or ask questions if you wish.
Pasha and his best friend Ahmed, live in an alleyway in Iran. From the rooftop of their homes they are able to observe the comings and goings of their neighbors, and the change in the political climate in ways that only the truly innocent can. As the story progresses both boys experience their first loves, Ahmed with Faheemah, and Pasha and his next door neighbor Zari. Their relationships are truly innocent, with stolen hugs, and glances sustaining them through the day.
Unfortunately there is a ton of political unrest occurring in Iran during the time the story is set. Zari has been betrothed to another young man, Doctor, before either of them were even born. His appearance in the novel is brief, but his actions set the tone for the terrible events that later occur.
This is truly a coming of age novel in everyway. You watch the characters grow from young innocents whose pleasures included dreaming of girls, and naming the stars after important people in their lives, to adults, much more jaded about the seeming tranquility of their lives, all in beautifully written prose.
In his novel “Rooftops of Tehran,” author Mahbod Seraji, explores the eye-opening experiences of his young protagonist, Pasha, as the country heads towards its revolution bred from long years of oppression under a tyrannical ruler. Pasha’s coming-of-age story exposes the reality of a world, where a common man is left to accept his fate as an unalterable given, with no way out
First and foremost, I would like to thank Professor Vora for giving the class the opportunity to meet Mahbod Seraji. The novel was very engaging to read, and the characters are written very beautifully. The novel have made me emotional at times at night, and I never felt that feeling for a very long time. This is truly a coming of Age story, and I would highly recommend this novel to anybody who are interested in knowing the Persian Culture, undying love, friendship, and sacrifice.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With the ongoing conflict between the U. S. A. and the Middle East, it makes one wonder what was life like in Iran before.Read more