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Record details

  • ISBN: 9780345811844
  • ISBN: 0345811844
  • Physical Description: remote
    1 online resource
  • Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2019.

Content descriptions

Summary, etc.: "This extraordinary, gripping debut is a rags-to-riches-to-revolution tale about an orphan girl's coming-of-age in Iran. Margaret Atwood calls it "an Iranian Doctor Zhivago." It is the mid-1950s in a democratic but restless Iran, a country newly powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious divides and by the politics of a larger world hungry (especially the West) for its resources. One night, a humble driver in the Iranian army is walking through a rough area of Tehran when he hears a small, pitiful cry. Curious, he searches for the source, and to his horror, comes upon a newborn baby abandoned by the side of the road and encircled by ravenous dogs. He snatches up the child--and forever alters his own destiny and that of the little girl, whom he names Aria. Thus begins a stunning and revelatory debut that takes us inside the Iranian revolution--but as seen like never before, through the eyes of an orphan girl. The novel is structured around each of the three very different women who find themselves fated to mother the lost child: first, the working-class, reckless and self-involved Zahra, married to the kind-hearted soldier; then the wealthy, careful and compassionate Fereshteh, who invites Aria into her compound and adopts her as an heir; and finally, Aria's biological mother, Mehri, whose new family Aria discovers in adolescence. A final section, "Aria," takes us through the brutal coup d'etat that installs the Shah as Iran's supreme leader, even as Aria falls in love with a revolutionary and becomes a young mother herself. Here is a sweeping, unforgettable, timely saga that brilliantly humanizes people trapped and left powerless and voiceless by an unjust world--people no different from those in the west, wanting love, kindness, belonging and freedom of thought."--
Subject: Orphans -- Fiction
Mothers and daughters -- Fiction
Tehran (Iran) -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction
Iran -- History -- Revolution, 1979 -- Fiction
Electronic books
Genre/Form: Electronic books.
Historical fiction.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2020 September #1
    Behrouz, an army truck driver, rescues an abandoned newborn in an alley and brings her to his unhappy home with Zahra, an older woman his family forced him to marry. Gentle Behrouz names his found daughter Aria because such songs express "all the world's pains and all the world's loves." Her blue eyes are considered a curse, one excuse for Zahra's horrific abuse, which Aria endures with the help of the admiring boy next door and a handsome, well-off army captain who initiates a dangerous affair with illiterate Behrouz. When fate brings Aria to the wealthy yet precarious household of kind Fereshteh, anguished secrets about Aria's birth mother and Zahra's misery are slowly revealed. Beginning in 1953 and concluding in 1981, Hozar's ample, many-faceted, vivid, and operatic debut novel encompasses sexual violence and injustice, the vast economic and educational disparities between north and south Tehran, and the coalescence and consequences of the Iranian Revolution. Lacing cultural, political, and religious conflicts into the dramatic and tumultuous lives of her entangled characters, Hozar reveals the complexities of Iran's glories and tragedies. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.
  • Kirkus Reviews : Kirkus Reviews 2020 June #1
    An orphan grows up during decades of unrest in Iran. Making an impressive fiction debut, Hozar creates a vibrant, unsettling portrait of her native Iran from the 1950s to 1981, a period beset by poverty and oppression, chaos and revolution. The tale begins in 1953, when a desperate new mother abandons her newborn in a garbage-strewn street in Tehran. While wild dogs scavenge through the trash, a man wandering through the neighborhood hears a muffled cry. Behrouz, an illiterate truck driver for the army, rescues the baby and impetuously names her Aria, for music that evokes "all the world's pains and all the world's loves." Behrouz takes the infant home to his wife, Zahra, a hardhearted woman who resents her husband and balks at this new imposition and responsibility. In a culture rife with superstition, she is suspicious of the child, whose blue eyes, Zahra believes, "mean... the devil's in her." With Behrouz gone for weeks at a time, Zahra vents her anger at Aria, whom she beats and nearly starves. But as if in a fairy tale, s uddenly the girl's fortunes change: She finds herself in a new home, this time with an emotionally reticent woman who strives to do good works in order to atone for her privilege. As Aria later recalls, she had "a mother who left her, a mother who beat her, and a mother who loved her but couldn't say so." Aria goes to school, where her two closest friends are children whose parents hold drastically different views about Iran's politics: The girl's father is repeatedly arrested for being a communist while the boy's wealthy family "sells the Shah his diamonds." Cries of "Death to the Shah! Long live Khomeini!" portend the violent upheaval that changes the country's—and Aria's—future. An engrossing tale that reveals a nation's fraught history. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
  • LJ Express Reviews : LJ Express Reviews

    [DEBUT] Army driver Behrouz finds a baby in a Tehran alley and takes her home, but his wife clearly does not want the girl and severely neglects her between beatings.Yet Aria becomes a strong and feisty child who knows her own mind and is soon adopted by a single woman of better means who has several other children in her care. A quick learner at school, Aria is asked to teach some young girls in a poorer part of town to read, and the woman running this household becomes yet another mother figure for Aria. The city's turmoil eventually leads to the 1979 revolution, with the impact reverberating among Aria, her family, and her circle of friends. She emerges as a survivor, true to herself as she battles through political, social, and religious upheaval and exemplifying the resilience of those facing demeaning and destructive forces. VERDICT Exploring motherhood and personal relationships as well as the chaotic upheavals in revolutionary Tehran, this debut offers a powerful lead character in Aria. But its minor characters are just as memorable, with the narrative revealing how their circumstances have shaped their personalities. Highly recommended, especially for book groups.—Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH

    Copyright 2020 LJExpress.
  • Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2020 June #2

    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.)

    Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

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