The Septembers of Shiraz

The Septembers of Shiraz

by Dalia Sofer

Debbie Weiss: I really loved this book, too. It was written so beautifully that I hated to put it down and often stayed up too late at night trying to read just a few more pages. I connected with the characters and could emphathize with their pain and sorrow. I was particularly fascinated with the young daughter, Shirin, who seemed so wise beyond her young years. She suffered with the physical loss of her father while he was in prison and she suffered with the emotional loss of her mother who struggled while the father was gone. Yet, she seemed to have a deep understanding of the political environment in which she was entrenched. I, too, was disappointed with the abrupt ending. I would have liked to learn more of what happened to the family after the escape attempt. Perhaps this will all be included in Sofer's next book. I hope so!
Rating: *****

Janet Kolodner: I agree with the other two reviews. This is an excellent and engaging book, I learned a huge amount about Iranian life from it, and I also would have liked it to have gone on for another hundred pages or so -- for two reasons - -because I wanted to learn more about what happened, but also because I felt like the characters were my friends, and I was sad to be leaving them. I recommend it very highly.
Rating: *****

Dale Israel: This was the second book I've read in as many weeks that takes place in Iran. I guess I'm really "into" that culture! This was a debut novel by a gifted author who wrote so lyrically that the novel was a delight to read. The story is about an Iranian Jewish family living during the revolution in the early 1980's. Isaac Amin is a wealthy jeweler who is imprisoned for allegedly being a Zionist spy. In alternating chapters, you learn about his life in prison, his wife's life while waiting for him to be released, and his son's life in New York as he lives among Orthodox Jews. (One of the character's was named Zalman Mendelson and my maiden name was Mendelson...how ironic!) This was a very engrossing book. I really enjoyed it and gained insight into what it was like living as a Jew in Iran and what it was like to be tortured and imprisoned. My only complaint is that Sofer ended the book abruptly. She leads you by the hand throughout and then rushes to end it. I would have liked to have seen a couple of hundred more pages so that the author could've better developed the conclusion. That said, it was a great book and I'm glad I read it. I think you'll enjoy it too!
Rating: ****

Arlene Almas: This novel follows the lives of a Jewish Iranian family during the period following the ouster of the Shah and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. I was afraid I might not be able to get through the sections on the husband's imprisonment, but they were written in such a way as to allow me to feel the agony without having to put down the book. The author also shows us the strength of the wife, the prematurely developed political understanding of the young daughter, and the loneliness and the fear for his family of the son attending college in New York. Although I had been aware of the plight of Iranian Jews at that time, I found that "The Septembers of Shiraz" made their suffering so much more personal but without falling into despair.  I definitely recommend it.
Rating: ****

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