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The Septembers of Shiraz


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About the Author

Dalia Sofer was born in Iran and fled at the age of ten to the United States with her family. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been a resident at Yaddo. A graduate of the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College, she lives in New York City.


Sofer's family escaped from Iran in 1982 when she was 10, an experience that may explain the intense detail of this unnerving debut. On a September day in 1981, gem trader Isaac Amin is accosted by Revolutionary Guards at his Tehran office and imprisoned for no other crime than being Jewish in a country where Muslim fanaticism is growing daily. Being rich and having had slender ties to the Shah's regime magnify his peril. In anguish over what might be happening to his family, Isaac watches the brutal mutilation and executions of prisoners around him. His wife, Farnaz, struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter, Shirin, steals files from the home of a playmate whose father is in charge of the prison that holds her father. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac's nonreligious son, Parviz, struggles without his family's money and falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Nicely layered, the story shimmers with past secrets and hidden motivations. The dialogue, while stiff, allows the various characters to come through. Sofer's dramatization of just-post-revolutionary Iran captures its small tensions and larger brutalities, which play vividly upon a family that cannot, even if it wishes to, conform. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In Sofer's debut novel, Isaac Amin, a Jewish businessman in Tehran, is imprisoned following the Iranian Revolution. As Amin attempts to survive his brutal treatment and convince his captors that he is not a Zionist spy, his wife, young daughter, and son (a college student in New York City) find various ways to cope with the radical change in their way of life and the knowledge that they may never see Amin again. This is a story that needs to be told, as a reminder of how political and religious ideologies can destroy individuals, families, and societies. Yet the Amins are not portrayed as innocent victims but flawed human beings who closed their eyes to the injustices of the monarchy under which they benefited. The family and political issues raised in the book are timely and ripe for discussion; this should be a popular book club choice. Recommended for all public libraries.-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"...her elegant prose works magic...Sofer perfectly captures Iran's transition to theocratic republic."--Financial Times
"[A] gripping first novel...Sofer's prose is lyrical and sometimes haunting."--Miami Herald
"As intelligent as it is gripping."--Kirkus Reviews
"Dalia Sofer's debut novel marks itself out as extraordinary...an impressive debut."--Wall Street Journal
"In her gripping debut novel...Sofer creates a page-turner that leaves you wanting to know more."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"The same seems true about talent, which Sofer clearly possesses in abundance."--Chicago Tribune
"[A] beautiful novel--rich and exact in its depictions of one family's ordeal in Iran after the Shah."--Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven and Household Words
"One of the most beautiful first novels I've ever come across. It is a rare book."--Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
"Spare and deeply felt-Sofer's prose shines with life and compassion."--Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals
"Stunning--beautiful, tragic, layered, and thought-provoking."--Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
"That this beautiful novel is a debut seems almost impossible . . . a remarkable emotional and intellectual achievement."--Dani Shapiro, author of Black & White

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