Fabulous Fiction Firsts #74 - Iranian Gems

If you enjoyed Anita Amirrezvani’s dazzling debut novel The Blood of Flowers, don’t miss the much anticipated debut The Septembes of Shiraz* by Dalia Sofer, due out next month (holds are accepted now).

Anita Amirrezvani grew up in San Francisco with her mother while spending much time over the years with her father and his extended family in Tehren, including the summer of 1979, at the onset of the Iranian Revolution when she was about to turn 17. Blood of Flower, tells the story of a 17th century unnamed female narrator who, at 14 journeys to Isfahan to learn rug weaving, a trade dominated by men. As she blossoms into a brilliant designer, her prospect for personal happiness grows dim, in this “Dickensian tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing”.

Dalia Sofer was born in Iran and fled with her family in 1982 at the age of 10. The Septembers of Shiraz recounts the struggles of the Amin family at the wake of the Iranian Revolution, when father Isaac, a Jewish rare-gem dealer is wrongly accused and imprisoned for being an Israeli spy. His wife Farnaz begins to question the loyalty of those around them. Young daughter Shirin takes immense risk to safeguard the rest of the family, while older son, alone in the United State deals with isolation and falls into the embrace of an unlikely family.

These two novels by first-time authors deal with the universal themes of identity, alienation and love while painting a vivid portrait of Iran, then and now. Great reads.

* = Starred Review