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The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.) by…

The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Dalia Sofer

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8245711,002 (3.85)155
Title:The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Dalia Sofer
Info:Harper Perennial (2008), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:NYT Most Notable(2007), Orange Prize Nominee

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The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer (2007)



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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Well written and engaging, but not quite good enough to deserve a fourth star — or the enthusiastic reviews that encouraged me to read the book. I would have liked more character development and perhaps a less easily perfect ending. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Very good first novel about a Jewish family in Iran during the Revolution. The father is imprisoned for 'zionist' activities, leaving his wife and daughter to cope with his arrest.

The book is based on the author's own experience. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Well written debut novel about a loving Jewish family with ties to the shah living in post revolution Iran - gem dealer husband is imprisoned for supposed crimes and each member of the family struggles to maintain a life without him - wife in fear for her husband's life yet also trying to be present for her young daughter- the daughter trying to protect her family in a courageous yet naive way, the son living in New York with normal young adult challenges and somewhat detached from the family, and the husband in his jail cell confronting his inner demons while suffering inhumane conditions -

I liked this book a lot - beautifully written with well-developed characters who I cared about and an engrossing plot line - the story was semi-autobiographical which added authenticity - ( )
  njinthesun | May 28, 2016 |
Originally posted at http://olduvaireads.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/thoughts-on-the-crane-wife-septembe...

I hesitated over this for so long. Despite it’s rather ‘light and breezy’ kind of cover, it’s a heavy read, set partly in prison in Iran after the revolution, where rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is held for being a spy for Israel (he is an Iranian Jew). His wife searches desperately for information about him. His son, studying in New York, struggles to find his own way through life while constantly worrying about his family in Iran. His young daughter tries in her own youthful reckless way to help him. Who can they trust? How can they leave their homeland? The sections written about Isaac and his daughter tend to be better reading than that of his wife and son. Bittersweet, semi-autobiographical, quite moving. ( )
  RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
Dalia Sofer's, "The Septembers of Shiraz" was the first book I read by this author. I selected the text based upon my interest in Middle East history. This story took place at a time when just about everyone in the country of Iran seemed to have a common enemy--The Monarchy, and they wanted it overthrown--this was accomplished with the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Unfortunately for Iranians, they soon realized that after the overthrow of their common enemy(ies), Prime Minister Mossaddegh and The Shah, coupled with the return of Ayatollah Khomeini, that the new regime was much worse than what the citizenry had fought for and envisioned for themselves. This realization was eloquently captured by the author when one of her characters stated the following, "We wanted to put an end to the monarchy [SIC]. We thought we were cheering for democracy. So many different groups marched together--the Communists, the Labor Party, the Party of the Masses, you name it. Add to that the religious fundamentalists. What brought us together was our hatred for the shah [SIC]. But there wasn't much else to keep us together. In the end, we unleashed a monster" (pp. 124-125), and many of them remained attached to it, typically leading people to prison, torture, and sometimes death..

Reasons for imprisonment and execution were as follows: unknown reason, communist party (Tudeh) member, being Jewish, being Baha'i, "the sha's [SIC] friends, generals, henchmen; anyone who was not liked was or [Sic] no longer fit in" (pp. 10-11). The author communicated that there existed a religion hierarchy beneath Islam: Baha'i was lower, or considered worse than, Judaism. Newly illegal acts included "drinking alcohol...along with singing, listening to music, going out with uncovered hair..." (pg. 25). Any indications of liking or not disliking The Shah most likely resulted in a worsened punishment and/or arrest of family members and friends

Prison flattened the socioeconomic status of all members of society. The same thing seemed to be occuring outside the prison as well. In fact, anyone of means was being viewed as not having earned their money. The less wealthy suddenly had a new power to assert and believed that someone else's money belonged to them. This paradigm was being indoctrinated throughout the country.

Indoctrination took more than one form, and it was aggressively taught, including at the elementary school level. Children were asked, hypothetically, if they would volunteer to be child soldiers for "the cause," and those that said they would were rewarded with relief from homework. The children did not really understand what it was that they were volunteering to do. The author revealed that children were being used to clear landmines so the adult soldiers could focus on actual combat.

Dalia Sofer wanted the reader to understand that the fear of death occurred on a quotidian basis. She communicated this aspect very well. The author also wanted the reader to either understand and/or visualize the following:
--Calmness of life prior to The Revolution;
--Constant finger pointing, mistrust, lies, and set-ups;
--Massive reversal of fortune;
--Revenge and brutality;
--Corruption; and,
--Devaluing of women and children.

Ms. Sofer accomplished her goals and easily established that there was a higher level of happiness and predictability in one's life prior to The Revolution. I thought that she could have done more to explain the deep religious fervor that people used as reasoning for the new, extremely conservative laws. I appreciated that she provided information about her family's escape from Iran, to include her actions and thoughts on the morning of departure. She expressed, "This is how I imagined my life catalogued and summed up" (pg. 3, Epilogue). It made me wonder, how would my life would be summarized and viewed.

Sofer's book maintained a consistent level of predictability; at times the characters could have been placed in any other story and viewed the same way as in this book. Overall, the book was beautifully written with just the right amount of intensity that made the book a page-turner. ( )
  StreedsReads | Feb 14, 2014 |
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For my parents, Simon and Farah,
my brothers, Joseph and Alfred,
and my sister, Orly
First words
When Isaac Amin sees two men with rifles walk into his office at half past noon on a warm autumn day in Tehran, his first thought is that he won't be able to join his wife and daughter for lunch, as promised.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061130419, Paperback)

In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known. As Isaac navigates the terrors of prison, and his wife feverishly searches for him, his children struggle with the realization that their family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Their serene villa life devastated by a wrongful imprisonment, the wife and children of Tehran gentleman Isaac Amin face potential betrayals within their own household and eventually plan a dangerous escape.

(summary from another edition)

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