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The Girl from the Garden: A Novel by Parnaz…
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The Girl from the Garden: A Novel (2015)

by Parnaz Foroutan

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One of People Magazine’s pick of the “Best New Books”. Foroutan weaves a powerful tale of a Persian Jewish family inspired by her own history. Her paradise was a cultivated place set apart from the vast wilderness in the city of Kermansha. The city is located in the west of Iran close to the border of Iraq. Her audience is privileged to enter into her garden, listen to her tale, and experience the life and traditions of Iranian Jews at that time and place. It is a suspenseful novel of obsession, power, and vulnerability.
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Nov 7, 2017 |
It's not this books fault that it wasn't what I wanted it to be. I wanted a book about Irani Jews transtioning to life in the United States, this was about an older Irani woman looking back on her life, remembering the impact of her aunt, a woman who married as a teenager into a wealthy Jew family and was unable to give her husband a son and so was judged without value by the mores of the day.

A novel about frustrated desires, gendered spaces, and patriarchy told with an almost cinematic flow. But I still didn't care for it much.

( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
3.5 For a successful Jewish man in Iran, not having a son is a terrible disgrace. For Rakhel, married to Asher at twelve and married for three years without any sign of a child it is a catastrophe. This story is narrated by the only remaining family member as a old woman now living in Los Angles.

This is a story about brothers who would do anything for each other, about family and what it means in the Iranian culture. I enjoyed reading about this culture in which I am so lacking in knowledge. Women are treated so strictly, so unforgivingly but even though it is very hard to like the very young Rachel at times, I did like that she didn't just accept things as they were but within the narrow frame allowed her she found a way to prosper. A very heartrending story, extremely well written though it does bounce back and forth in time.
The descriptions were wonderful, the family story well told. A very good story about a culture of which I am glad is very different from my own. ( )
  Beamis12 | Sep 20, 2015 |
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For Mahboubeh, and for my daughters
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There are two stories as to how our family arrived in Kermanshah from Tehran.
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Loneliness is a palpable sensation, she thinks to herself, the presence of an absence. (Page 92)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006238838X, Hardcover)

An extraordinary new writer makes her literary debut with this suspenseful novel of desire, obsession, power and vulnerability, in which a crisis of inheritance leads to the downfall of a wealthy family of Persian Jews in early twentieth-century Iran.

For all his wealth and success, Asher Malacouti—the head of a prosperous Jewish family living in the Iranian town of Kermanshah—cannot have the one thing he desires above all: a male son. His young wife Rakhel, trapped in an oppressive marriage at a time when a woman’s worth is measured by her fertility, is made desperate by her failure to conceive, and grows jealous and vindictive.

Her despair is compounded by her sister-in-law Khorsheed’s pregnancy and her husband’s growing desire for Kokab, his cousin’s wife. Frustrated by his wife’s inability to bear him an heir, Asher makes a fateful choice that will shatter the household and drive Rakhel to dark extremes to save herself and preserve her status within the family.

Witnessed through the memories of the family’s only surviving daughter, Mahboubeh, now an elderly woman living in Los Angeles, The Girl from the Garden unfolds the complex, tragic history of her family in a long-lost Iran of generations past. Haunting, suspenseful and inspired by events in the author’s own family, it is an evocative and poignant exploration of sacrifice, betrayal, and the indelible legacy of the families that forge us.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:57:35 -0400)

For all his wealth and success, Asher Malacouti--the head of a prosperous Jewish family living in the Iranian town of Kermanshah in the early twentieth century--cannot have the one thing he desires above all: a son. His young wife Rakhel, trapped in an oppressive marriage at a time when a woman's worth is measured by her fertility, is made desperate by her failure to conceive, and grows jealous and vindictive.… (more)

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