The Septembers of Shiraz

The Septembers of Shiraz was written by Dalia Sofer, an Iranian who was forced with her family to flee Iran after the fall of the Shah.  This book is supposedly semi-autobiographical. 

Jews living in Iran who became prosperous during the Shah’s regime were not looked upon favorably by the new regime.  After the revolution, the Shah is out of power, Muslim fanaticism continues to take over the country.  Isaac Amin, the father who is in the jewelry business, is taken from his office by the Revolutionary Guards for no apparent reason but that he lived well during the Shah’s regime and he is Jewish. 

Sofer tells the story through each family member.  Isaac, the husband, who is being tortured in jail.  Farnaz, the wife, who is uncertain about their future and if she will ever see her husband again and how her power as a woman in regards to taking over his business or family matters is not that easy.  Shirin, the 9 year old daughter who is completely confused on what is happening to her father and her country and Parviv, the son who is studying in New York.  The story unfolds through each chapter from another person’s voice.  Each character is so alone and scared. 

We learn about the prisons, we learn about what it is like to be an Iranian in New York with no support from home knowing that your father is in jail, we learn what it is like to be surrounded with other 9 year olds whose fathers are either in jail or Revolutionaries yet they are all playing together, we learn how life was when the evil ways of their fellow countrymen weren’t affecting their life.

It is really a fantastic book that gives so much insight into the world of  Iran, the people, their struggles, their leaders.  Very well written portrait of family life living through very difficult and confusing times.  Definitely worth reading.  A debut novel.  Quite impressive.