A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing poet Forugh Farrokhzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice and her destiny
“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh Farrokhzad
All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. It’s during the summer of 1950 that Forugh’s passion for poetry really takes flight—and that tradition seeks to clip her wings.
Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing grows only stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.
Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—Jasmin Darznik has written a haunting novel, using the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.
Told in the first person, one would think they were reading a memoir. Facts mix with Fiction to flesh out the story and the life of Forugh Farrokhzad. A woman born in Iran in the 1930’s and dying much too young at the age of 32. She was an Iranian poet and film director at a time when women were most definitely not doing those types of things.
Her poetry was controversial and pointed out the injustices and inequality women suffered. She was a true feminist. But the things she wanted cost her dearly. Her only son, prison, and even a mental institution. But none of that stopped her from publishing her poetry and fighting to be her own person.
Her writing was banned for over 10 years after the Islamic Revolution. There have been a few documentaries of her life.
The author, who fled to America from Iran with her family when she was five, has a voice of authenticity which gives the book the feel of a memoir.
This is one of the most painful and beautiful books I have ever had the pleasure to read.
Netgalley/Ballentine/Random House February 13, 2018