New York Times bestselling author Khaled Hosseini says, “Set in post-revolutionary Iran, Sahar Delijani’s gripping novel is a blistering indictment of tyranny, a poignant tribute to those who bear the scars of it, and a celebration of the human heart’s eternal yearning for freedom.”
Neda is born in Iran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before an anonymous guard appears at the cell door one day and simply takes her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death but the anguish and the horror of murder.
These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country’s tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.
“Heartbreakingly heroic” (Publishers Weekly), Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom. Written in Sahar Delijani’s spellbinding prose, capturing the intimate side of revolution in a country where the weight of history is all around, it is a moving tribute to anyone who has ever answered its call.
Born in 1983 in an Iranian prison, Delijani delivers a fictionalized account of her harrowing origins. This debut novel opens with blindfolded and handcuffed pregnant dissident Azar's water breaking in the back of a van. During labor in the prison, Azar encounters both sympathetic doctors and iron-fisted interrogators. Her struggle to keep her story straight; limit stress to her baby, Neda; and get word to her family that she's alive is heartbreakingly heroic. During the chaotic birth, Delijani rapidly shifts between locations and conditions, creating confusion and a maelstrom of imagery. After this strong opening in Evin Prison, Delijani turns from the powerful immediacy of Azar's fight to the struggle outside, touching on the bleak sadness of four prisoners' families over three repetitious sections. While the dissidents undergo random and brutal interrogations, their children are punished daily by the absence of their parents, and fear twists and deforms relationships, making the whole world a prison. At the book's end, Neda reappears as an adult in Italy, contemplating her situation within a global context. A contrivance connects her to the Arab Spring through the son of a Revolutionary Guard, leaving it unclear if she'll be able to fully transcend her bloody history.
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
I found the book in Atria's summer 2013 beach read bag. The book starts out very strong with Azar, a imprisoned pregnant woman being transported around the city searching for a hospital that is willing to take her in and deliver her baby. Afer this exciting start, I kept reading and waiting for the next thrilling moments to begin. Unfortunate, the book just fell flat. Should have been a $1.99 Save your money!