On an autumn day in London, the dark secrets and troubled past of Maryam Mazar surface violently with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara, and her newly orphaned nephew, Saeed. Wracked with guilt, Maryam is compelled to leave the safe comfort of her suburban home and mild English husband to return to Mazareh, the remote village on ...Read MoreOn an autumn day in London, the dark secrets and troubled past of Maryam Mazar surface violently with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara, and her newly orphaned nephew, Saeed. Wracked with guilt, Maryam is compelled to leave the safe comfort of her suburban home and mild English husband to return to Mazareh, the remote village on Iran's north-east border where her story began. There she must face her past and the memories of a life she was forced to leave behind when her father disowned her for a sin she did not commit. Back in England, Sara takes care of Saeed and her distraught father as she tries to understand what has happened. Together they begin to unearth Maryam's story from memories, photographs and a few lines of poetry. In her quest to piece their life back together, Sara follows her mother to Iran, to discover the roots of her unhappiness and to try and bring her home. Far from the terraced streets of London, among the snow-capped mountains and wind-swept plains that have haunted her mother's dreams for half a century, Sara finally learns the terrible price Maryam once had to pay for her freedom, and of the love she left behind.Read Less
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I've really started to enjoy Mid Eastern based fiction. I was looking forward to this one but was fairly disappointed. In fact, I just abandoned it after reading half the book. It didn't really hold my interest. I usually enjoy books which jump back and forth between characters, locales, and/or timeframes as this one did but the writer has to employ some distinctive tactics to keep the reader from being confused during this process. This author didn't really succeed in this. I was constantly trying to figure out character/place/time she was writing about and since I wasn't interested I decided it wasn't really worth the effort to continue.
Jul 8, 2008
An unexpected pleasure!
I found this book quite by accident; the cover intrigued me first. Then, the flyleaf synopsis of the story captured my imagination and interest. The story about the mother and daughter reminded me somewhat of The Joy Luck Club. I actually found the story profoundly sad because of the unfairness of life. It doesn't matter what part of the world or what your culture/history, sometimes bad things happen to good people, so the old cliche goes. It is hard to endure tragedy not of your own making. What happened to the mother, Maryam, at the hands of her father all for the sake of honor is just sickening. I could empathize with Maryam and her feeling of being torn between two worlds and two loves. I also feel for Maryam's daughter Sara and nephew Saeed because they are swept up in the tragedy and drama without knowing why. Over all, this was a very enjoyable book, even though the story is sad. I did feel a sense of hopefulness while at the same time, a sense of wondering whether Maryam stays in Iran or returns to her husband in England. The descriptions of the locales struck my imagination. I do believe this is the author's first novel, and it is very well done. The ending is somewhat abrupt and ambivalent, but perhaps that as it should be because life doesn't always have happy endings.
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