Nazanine Hozar. Pantheon, $28.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4904-0
Hozar’s towering bildungsroman debut, already an international bestseller, spans three decades, capturing the maturation of the novel’s protagonist, Aria, amid the Iranian Revolution. Abandoned by her mother in Tehran as a baby in 1953, Aria spends her early years raised by a military driver, Behrouz, and his abusive wife, Zahra, who often locks the girl outside and denies her food. After Aria contracts trachoma at age six, Behrouz arranges to send her to live with Zahra’s former employer, the wealthy Fereshteh, who takes in the girl as her own daughter, enrolls her in school, and forces her to visit the home of the less-fortunate Shirazi family to teach the household’s children to read. Years pass, and Aria, along with childhood friends Hamlet and Mitra, completes high school and enrolls in university, where she crosses paths with disciples of Ayatollah Khomeini, who they claim will create a better Iran. As Tehran grows more violent, Aria realizes Hamlet is in love with her, and she must navigate his affections while they both become entangled in the growing uprising against the Shah. Hozar expertly weaves people in and out of Aria’s life and crafts a living, breathing environment for her heroine to inhabit, and brings things to a charged climax. This will be hard for readers to shake. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/22/2020
Release date: 08/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-0-345-81182-0
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-1-5247-4903-3
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