This was a very powerful and moving novel. It’s by no means a happy story-although I think I would classify it as a hopeful one. It’s a perfect display of the human spirit and the will to survive-of how much hardship people can experience and yet still move forward and start anew, no matter how hard it may be.
This story is about the Amin family. They are living in the days after the Iranian revolution-a life so different than they had lived before. Isaac, the father, is arrested and accused of being a spy. Before being arrested he was a rare gem dealer, he has known nothing but a good life. Prison is a terrifying ordeal for him-not knowing from one day to the next if he will live or die and never see his family again. Back home his wife and daughter are also dealing with the destruction of all they’ve ever known. Their son is thankfully safe in America but dealing with his own issues too. I didn’t really find that their son played a significant role in the novel other than I guess to show the helplessness of being in another country when your country is in such turmoil.
The story develops from there. We live through the horrors of prison life with Isaac and the uncertainty of life for his wife and daughter. I don’t want to say a lot about the story here because this book is definitely one you must pick up and experience for yourself. The author writes in a flowing manner making this book easy to read despite the subject matter and she draws us so completely into her character’s lives that we feel their pain and joy.
It’s hard for us to imagine the lives such as are portrayed in this book. My mind can’t wrap itself around living with the kind of terror the Amin’s did and many others besides them. They went from good, comfortable and peaceful lives to a world of chaos. Nothing was as they knew it before. This novel shows us just how quickly our lives can change and never be the same again. It shows the resilience of the human spirit. It is a novel you must experience for yourself. For me it was extremely difficult to put down and I read it quickly. It’s emotional and thought provoking and makes us aware of the world around us while at the same time making us very grateful for the countries we live in. I definitely recommend this novel.