Saturday, August 18, 2007

REVIEW: The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer

Release date: August 2007. Click on the cover to buy.

The Septembers of Shiraz
is a good first novel about a family dealing with their status as outsiders in revolution-era Iran. It tells the story of a Sephardic Jewish family in Iran and their son living in New York. In Iran, the father of the family has been imprisoned; his wife and daughter are living through the anxiety of his absence and the shifting social pressures they find themselves under; in New York, their son is adjusting to life not only as an immigrant but as a secular Jew living in a Hasidic community. It was a satisfying read and very well-written. Sometimes it seemed a little ponderous but it had some moving and touching moments and a little bit of suspense. I like the way the author started by throwing the reader right in the middle of the action and let the story and the characters blossom out from the center. The daughter of the family, Shirin, was a wonderful character and I thought the author made good use of her in the plot and as an emotional center. I found the portrayals more or less balanced and the main characters likeable enough. A good read.

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