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Rooftops of Tehran: A Novel by Mahbod Seraji
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Rooftops of Tehran: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Mahbod Seraji

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2982537,648 (4.02)13
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Title:Rooftops of Tehran: A Novel
Authors:Mahbod Seraji
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Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (2009)

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    Snow in August by Pete Hamill (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both of these books deal with a boy's coming of age during tense times.
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Chosen by Narmatha for our Potluck Book Club, I enjoyed this novel of adolescence which really could have taken place anywhere and at any time. The story of Pasha, Ahmed, Zari, and Faheemeh takes place in Iran right before the overthrow of the Shah. The most enlightening passages take place in the alleys and rooftops of the city, where neighbors gather and lovers meet in secret. Families are all encompassing and friends are part of the families. Events conspire to keep Pasha and Zari apart. Her fiancé, Doctor, has a strong desire to help rural people out of poverty. This goes against SAVAK, the dreaded secret spy network of the Shah. The teenagers try and muddle their way through love and school in a hostile environment. People are rounded up and thrown in secret jails where they are tortured and then released suddenly and then jailed again. The reader can taste the need for a revolution, though of course the repercussions for American readers is around the corner in the hostage crisis and the rise of militant Islam. Here are same contradictions as Afghanistan: who is worse, the Taliban or the corrupt government and military? Who is worse, SAVAK or Ayatollah Khomeni? I think the novel gives a good picture of a hard life. A sequel detailing Pasha's life as an American student in California would be most welcome. ( )
  froxgirl | May 16, 2014 |
Pasha Shahed and his best friend Ahmed are 17 years old. Life might not be perfect, but they're happy. Ahmed is in love with Faheemeh, a beautiful girl from another neighborhood. Pasha is secretly in love with Zari, who has been engaged to Pasha's mentor/friend, Doctor, since birth.

It's 1973 and Iran is ripe for a revolution. The Shah is brutal about silencing any dissidents and he has the backing of the US. Doctor is a radical at heart. He disappears over the summer, supposedly to help improve the lives of remote villagers. He comes running back into the neighborhood late one night, chased by the Shah's secret police. A chain of events is set off that night that leads to heartbreak and agonizing choices.

First of all, I love this cover. Not only is it beautiful, but it fits the story perfectly.

I loved this glimpse into life in Iran. As an American, I have to say that we really never hear anything good about Iran. In our media, they're the bad guys who only want nuclear weapons to rain on our heads. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but there's a grain of truth there.

This is a reminder that people are people, no matter where we happen to live. I can't relate to Pasha's strict school teachers, or fear of speaking out, but I can relate to long, perfect summers, first love, and laughter with friends. I can relate to the importance that his family and friends play in his life. I understand the highs and lows of being 17 and learning that life isn't fair.

I loved the characters in this book. They were all high-spirited and loved each other. Ahmed with his irrepressible sense of humor may have been my favorite, but Pasha with his secret desire to be an author or filmmaker was just quieter. The girls, while not as repressed as I tend to think of Muslim girls as being, still didn't really have the opportunities that a Western girl has. In their own ways, they still managed to shine. To say more would give away spoilers, but these are two very brave female characters.

The book opens in the winter of 1974 with Pasha in a mental hospital. He doesn't know where he is or how he got there. The next chapter flashes back to the idyllic summer of 1973. Not knowing what happened to land Pasha in the hospital, but knowing that it must have been something bad, had my stomach in knots for him.

Everything catches up and makes sense about 2/3 of the way through the book. It felt like that should have been the climax of the book, but there was an awful lot of "dealing with the aftermath" still to go. I had a hunch about where everything was going to ultimately end up, so I was mostly reading at that point to see if I was right.

I could have wished for a more definite ending, but I was happy enough with the way it was. According to the author interview at the back of my book, he is planning a sequel, and I will definitely be looking for that to see what happens with Pasha and company. ( )
1 vote JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
I really enjoyed reading this book. I wish I could have gotten the perspective on the events and way of life from the females characters as well though. ( )
  jnorath | Apr 2, 2013 |
Só tenho uma palavra para descrever este livro: Perfeito.
Acho incrível a maneira como tudo é descrito, desde o ambiente, os sentimentos e até mesmo a cultura iraniana. Quando leio um livro, a primeira coisa que procuro é aprender algo novo, seja uma lição de vida ou até uma curiosidade sobre algum aspecto, mas o que encontrei neste livro foi algo que vai mais além…
Vencedor de vários prémios, este livro dá-nos a conhecer um pouco da luta pelo fim de ditadura vivida entre os anos de 1973 e 1974. Foram muitos que morreram nessa guerra, uns verdadeiramente culpados por fazer expiação ao regime do Xá Reza Pahlevi, outros apenas por mero egoísmo e inveja de amigos e vizinhos. Achei muito triste a atitude de certas pessoas, que são capazes de tudo para subir na vida, fiquei revoltada principalmente com uma situação que nos é contada no livro em que um homem fez queixa do sogro só para poder ficar com o património deste. Infelizmente, por dinheiro, as pessoas são capazes de fazer as piores acções. Este também é um livro que se foca no romance entre Pasha e Zari, que no início parecia condenado ao fracasso pois Zari já era comprometida com o “Doutor”, que por sua vez era também amigo de Pasha.
Com todo o respeito pela diversidade de culturas que nos rodeia, achei muito injusto a situação pela qual muitas das personagens tiveram de passar, casamentos arranjados pelos pais, livros proibidos pelo regime, a Burca…
Foi um livro delicioso e também umas horas bem passadas na companhia das suas personagens, espero que leiam este livro e deixem a vossa imaginação voar até ao ambiente vivido nos Terraços de Teerão… ( )
  anokas2757 | Mar 17, 2013 |
Só tenho uma palavra para descrever este livro: Perfeito.
Acho incrível a maneira como tudo é descrito, desde o ambiente, os sentimentos e até mesmo a cultura iraniana. Quando leio um livro, a primeira coisa que procuro é aprender algo novo, seja uma lição de vida ou até uma curiosidade sobre algum aspecto, mas o que encontrei neste livro foi algo que vai mais além…
Vencedor de vários prémios, este livro dá-nos a conhecer um pouco da luta pelo fim de ditadura vivida entre os anos de 1973 e 1974. Foram muitos que morreram nessa guerra, uns verdadeiramente culpados por fazer expiação ao regime do Xá Reza Pahlevi, outros apenas por mero egoísmo e inveja de amigos e vizinhos. Achei muito triste a atitude de certas pessoas, que são capazes de tudo para subir na vida, fiquei revoltada principalmente com uma situação que nos é contada no livro em que um homem fez queixa do sogro só para poder ficar com o património deste. Infelizmente, por dinheiro, as pessoas são capazes de fazer as piores acções. Este também é um livro que se foca no romance entre Pasha e Zari, que no início parecia condenado ao fracasso pois Zari já era comprometida com o “Doutor”, que por sua vez era também amigo de Pasha.
Com todo o respeito pela diversidade de culturas que nos rodeia, achei muito injusto a situação pela qual muitas das personagens tiveram de passar, casamentos arranjados pelos pais, livros proibidos pelo regime, a Burca…
Foi um livro delicioso e também umas horas bem passadas na companhia das suas personagens, espero que leiam este livro e deixem a vossa imaginação voar até ao ambiente vivido nos Terraços de Teerão… ( )
  anokas2757 | Mar 17, 2013 |
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I hear someone's voice chanting, and the repetitive verses lap like water at the edge of my consciousness.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 045122681X, Paperback)

From "a striking new talent"(Sandra Dallas, author of Tallgrass) comes an unforgettable debut novel of young love and coming of age in an Iran headed toward revolution.

In this poignant, eye-opening and emotionally vivid novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality of the centuries-old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share.

In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

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(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:03 -0400)

An unforgettable debut novel of young love and growing up in an Iran headed toward revolution. In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends one perfect, stolen summer with his beautiful neighbor, Zari, until he unwittingly guides the Shah's secret police to their target: Zari's intended. The violent consequences awaken Pasha and his friends to the reality of life under the rule of a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice from which Pasha may never recover.… (more)

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