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The Septembers of Shiraz Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 24, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Particularly notable are Sofer's efforts to portray the ideology of Amin's captors and their sympathizers and to give them a chance to speak for themselves. She does not countenance political murder, religious repression, or anti-semitism, far from it, and her sympathies are with the oppressed; but she does give her villains a voice. Why are some people the masters and some the servants? Was the Iranian upper class complicit in the repression conducted by the shah's goons before his overthrow? These are some of the questions that she asks and these help give the book considerable nuance.
I would have given this book five stars, but the ending failed to satisfy the emotional build-up of the previous 100 pages. The book seemed to peter out rather than to end in a meaningful way.
While Isaac is left in a dank cell with other men, all to be systematically interrogated, he ponders the viability of ever leaving this place, let alone surviving the increasingly brutal interrogation techniques used to obtain the desired responses form the prisoners. Daily he listens to the firing squads, the moans from fellow prisoners who have been tortured and the muezzin's call to prayer. Regretting that he could not inform his wife, Farnaz, of his dire circumstances, Amin looks inward, revisiting the early days of their marriage, before they became careless of the relationship. Learning of her husband's fate, Farnaz is thrust into despair, fighting the depression that overwhelms her whenever she considers life without Isaac, navigating the days as if a sleepwalker.Read more ›
The story centers on a Iranian Jewish family living in post-revolutionary Iran (1981). Isaac, the father, is a gemologist with a successful business. His life and that of his family is turned upside down when he unexpectedly arrested by the Revolutionary Guard and taken to prison. There Amin is physically, mentally and emotionally tortured for a confession about being a traitor and his connection to the deposed regime of the former Shah.
Meanwhile, Isaac's family, Farnaz (wife), Shirin (9 year old daughter) and Parviz (college student living in Brookly) struggle to cope with the imprisonment of Isaac. Sofer wonderfully captures the hopes, fears and challenges each of them face through their distinctively different perspectives and situations. Sofer does a wonderful job going far beyond the expected stereotypes to paint the complex nature of human relationships -- how these relationships exist in times of "peace" and how they exist in times of turmoil. Especially powerful is Sofer's exploration of Farnaz's relationship with their housekeeper Habibeh. Her son used to work for Amin and is now part of the Revolutionary Guard.
"Septembers of Shiraz" causes us to reflect on several sweeping themes -- how complicitous is an individual who benefits from a situation without directly supporting that underlying situation? Is it possible for power not to corrupt those when they go from ruled to ruler? What is one's connection to country vs. religion?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good look into post-Khomeini Iran, uncomfortable but undoubtedly too true. A similar story surely could be - has been - written about the Shah and Savak. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Janet Duncan
Beautiful, meaningful book. The language is beautiful. The personal story and the insight it provides into the politics of 1981 Iran is both poignant and historical. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Frances Lewis
Not what I expected. I thought it would help me explore neighborhoods but it didn't help in that way.Published 12 days ago by Dolores F.
It was interesting to learn of the revolution in Iran. I was a young child at the time and didn't understand much then. At times the book was a bit slow. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Heidi Kennington
A thoughtful, nuanced book. Highly recommend this well-written debut novel.Published 16 days ago by Ben Stein
Interesting read providing an insight view on the Iranian revolution and the torture affluent Jews under the shahs regime withstood.Published 21 days ago by Connie Tanquary