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Song of a Captive Bird : A Novel
2018
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  Publishers Weekly Review

In this sumptuous debut novel, Darznik (The Good Daughter, a memoir) retells the fleeting life of a real-life Iranian feminist, poet, and director. In this imagining-told with the vulnerability and confidence of a memoir-Forugh Farrokhzad grows up in a Tehran where women and girls see little of the world beyond their own garden walls, but the glimpses are formative. Poetry is the thread that weaves through Forugh's journey: the familial and romantic relationships that uplift and crush her; the darkest hours of isolation where she is made to forget her own work; the possibilities and promise, always just out of her reach. Excerpts of her verses, translated by Darznik, light the path from Forugh's tragic first love to the birth of her son, a passionate affair, her first publication, and her determination to remain independent in a world so focused on control. Forugh's crucibles are not so dissimilar from those of her country, balancing a rich history and faith with a desire to secure a place in modern spheres of influence. As Forugh finds her stride, so does Darznik's telling; the direct but descriptive voice soars as its subject makes a life for herself. Darznik's marvelous homage to Forugh captures the frustration and determination she must have felt to overcome the strictures of her environment, beautifully recreating her difficult path to fame. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society's expectations to find her voice and her destiny <br> <br> "A complex and beautiful rendering of [a] vanished country and its scattered people; a reminder of the power and purpose of art; and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out"-- The New York Times Book Review <br> <br> All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian 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 . During the summer of 1950, Forugh's passion for poetry takes flight--and tradition seeks to clip her wings.<br> <br> 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 only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.<br> <br> Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad's verse, letters, films, and interviews--and including original translations of her poems--this haunting novel uses 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.<br> <br> Praise for Song of a Captive Bird <br> <br> "If poetry is emotion rendered incendiary, then Forugh Farrokhzad was made of fire. . . . Song of a Captive Bird is an unsparing account of the necessity and consequences of speaking out." -- BookPage <br> <br> "Sometimes, simply choosing whom to love is a political act." -- Vogue ("February's Best Books") <br> <br> "With rich empathy and gorgeous prose, Jasmin Darznik breathes life into one of Iran's most iconic women, and the result is a beautiful novel that is as compelling as it is necessary." --Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This<br> <br> "A thrilling and provocative portrait of a powerful woman set against a sweeping panorama of Iranian history." -- Kirkus Reviews
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