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Caspian Rain

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  539 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
From the best-selling author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, a stirring, lyrical tale that offers American readers unique insight into the inner workings of Iranian society.

In the decade before the Islamic Revolution, Iran is a country on the brink of explosion. Twelve-year-old Yaas is born into an already divided family: Her father is the son of wealthy Iranian Jews
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by MacAdam Cage (first published January 1st 2007)
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Feb 16, 2011 Fatima rated it liked it
I chose this book because it is about a deaf child. When I first started reading the book, I assumed that a whole chunk would be about the struggles of the deaf child especially in Iran, but the book chose to talk about the affair the most. I feel there wasn’t much depth to the characters in the book, and the overarching theme of loss was very unrealistic. I felt that each character made its own deep hole and wanted to blame someone else. The young girl, named Yaaz wasn’t born deaf. Her mother ...more
Abdi Nazemian
Aug 19, 2014 Abdi Nazemian rated it it was amazing
As a writer of fiction about Iranian people, I am so thrilled to have discovered the work of Gina Nahai. She writes with tremendous depth and beautiful lyricism, plunging us with vivid detail into Jewish life in Iran, pre-revolution. This novel is anything if not ambitious. It flirts movingly with magical realism. It introduces new, unusual, and compelling secondary characters throughout. And at times, it even feels like a Joan Crawford movie (if you know me, you also know I mean this as the hig ...more
Mar 19, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Good God this book is bleak. Occasionally it picks up with some plot, and I'm captivated because I think, 'Maybe things are about to change for these poor characters,' but Ha Ha, joke's on me, things change but they only get worse.

Don't get me wrong, the writing is beautiful. I learned a bit about Iran, where the story is set. It's got some interesting perspectives on the nature of life, and experience, and loyalty, and family. So much fiction is called "luminous" these days -- especially debut
Tara Chevrestt
Aug 28, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it it was ok
Shelves: deaf-heroine, iran
I am definetly the minority here, but I did not enjoy this book much at all. I was expecting a novel about a deaf girl growing up in revolitionary Iran and knowing first hand what it is like being deaf in America, of course I jumped for excitement upon finding this book. Readers looking for a "deaf culture" type story, do not be mislead. Only the very last quarter of the book addresses Yaas's hearing impairment. The entire first half is about her parents and their marital discord. She is not eve ...more
May 24, 2008 YoSafBridg rated it liked it
Gina B. Nahai finally seems to be finding an American audience for her work; perhaps our esteemed president's war on terrorism (or his seeming declaration of war on most of the rest of the world which doesn't appreciate his cowboy politics) has awakened us to what was a number of years ago "of little interest." Caspian Rain provides us with a portrait of Yaas's parents' rather unhappy marriage and her own upbringing within it.
Yaas's mother, Bahar, grew up with her seamstress-wannabe-mother; cant
Regina Lindsey
In the years leading up to the Islamic Revolution in Iran there are two classes of Jews. One is the group that left the ghettos when the Shah opened them up. This group became affluent members of the community and considered themselves Iranian first and Jewish second. The second group did not have the means to leave and thus remain among the poorest of society but ardently religious. Bahar is a vivacious young teenager from the ghetto sect. The narrator describes her: “The girl on the street – h ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Amy800 rated it really liked it
For me this was an intriguing look at another culture, but it also shocked me a lot. I felt like my heart was bruised reading this...
Dec 08, 2009 Jumana rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. In this book there were mixed emotions. I was really angry at many thing and was happy at some. But the book is really good.
Nov 25, 2012 Lorri rated it it was amazing
Cultural mores and expectations are a central theme throughout the novel. Love and loss are predominate factors in Caspian Rain. Identity and failure are evoked within the pages. Women are expected to perform in specific manners, within a marriage, and within a family unit. Even the women married to wealthy husbands are expected to obey their husbands, and uphold strict appearances, so as not to embarrass the family or cause gossip within the social spectrum. Through all the wealth they have, th ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Kristin rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, but I felt that I have read historical fiction and better novels set in Iran. While reading the book, some things just did feel authentic (or things were simplified, cultural attitudes, cultural beliefs and practices, etc.). When I learned that the author was born in Iran, but fled to the US with her family at the time of the revolution, the style of the book makes a little more sense. For example, any time Nahai writes about the Shah, it's always positive. She doesn't in any ...more
May 27, 2013 Lesley rated it liked it
I have rarely read a sadder, or more beautifully told book. Yaas, the 10 year old narrator, relates the history of her parents' tragic marriage, then flashes forward to her own role in the network of disappointments, betrayals and reproaches that ensnare them all. Her parents are both Jews in mid 1970s Iran, but whereas Omid, her father is from a wealthy, near assimilated family; her mother Bahar is a "ghetto Jew" the kind "who give Jews a bad name". Attracted by Bahar's spirited optimism, and o ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Shahrzad rated it liked it
This is the story of a Jewish-Iranian family's experiences in Iran in the years leading up to the Revolution. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl as she relates her mother's life story. It's not so much a religiously-charged book as I had initially expected, thinking it would be a Jews vs. Muslims tale. But religion does play a part in that it focuses on the large disparity between the rich and poor Jews in Iran during that era.

I really enjoyed the book for the most part, and
Bookmarks Magazine

Gina Nahai, who left Iran as an adolescent, offers a rare glimpse into one family's inner sanctum prior to Iran's Islamic Revolution. A tragic story told in memoir form, Caspian Rain reveals the limitations of their lives against the class struggles and conflict between tradition and modernism that defined pre-Revolution Iran. Engaging characters (particularly the 12-year-old Yaas), some beautiful writing (with a little magical realism thrown in, including the existence of Ghost Brother), and a

Jul 30, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it
My wife picked this book off the shelf at the local library without knowing anything about it. As I read it I was drawn into the sorrowful lives of Bahar and Yaas to a degree I had not expected. I think that living overseas in a culture similar to that which she describes made me particularly sympathetic for the constraints and burdens that these women must live with, that so profoundly shape their lives. I have seen their fates reflected in the lives of other woman and my heart grieves for them ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: iran
An interesting book by a new author for me. Follows the life of a girl, Jewish and poor in Tehran during the last years of the Shah's regime. Her "perfect" marriage to a wealthy Jewish boy turns out to be anything but perfect. And their daughter, Yass, caught up in her parents' and their families conflicts, has anything but an easy or happy life. There is a lot in the story about class conflicts, religious differences, power and lack of power. Yaas' life becomes more difficult (for reasons that ...more
May 29, 2009 Kristi rated it really liked it
Just met the author at our Literacy fundraiser, wonderful personality, obviously intelligent, with a rich family history. Can't wait to get started!
(finished book) I enjoyed this book despite some lukewarm reviews out there on it. I found the imagery rich and writing descriptive and flowing. It is not a happy book - it is a book that overlays what is all too common (an unhappy marriage, childhood illness) onto the face of a changing country. Apparently there were some complaints from readers abo
Nov 17, 2013 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All of the magic of a fairy tale without the happy ending. (But and ending that makes you say "wow" never the less.) Thought provoking.

some gems worth pondering:

There's such a thing as too much hope. It's like a black hole: you fall in, and there's no bottom. p259

What is a life, at the end but a story we leave behind? What if that story was never told? p256

They have a different burden-the weak, those who are subject to the will and whims of the strong? They have to choose between two bad optio
Jul 02, 2012 Jaki rated it really liked it
Okay, so the first half of this book can basically be gleaned by reading the back cover. Still, the details matter. This was a bit of a slow part for me, because Nahai's writing is beautiful--but the plot held no surprises. Still, as I said, the details matter later on.

Second half of the book--loved it. Great cast of characters. The narrator Yaas starts to become more than just an observer. And the ending--wow!

Not a straightforward narrative, but lovely writing, and it really does all wrap toget
Caspian Rain is a rather sad story. Bahar is a young school girl when her future husband sets eyes on her. Eager to live life, she accepts the proposal only to be shunned by his family and friends. Born into a family of secrets she cannot escape the fact that her husband does not love her and is carrying on an affair openly. Bahar has so much hope and faith that I wanted her to be strong and rise above her circumstances. But she never does. The book chronicles her life and the disappointment she ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
Set in the years before the Iranian Revolution, this novel tells the story of a young girl who struggles with her parents' failing marriage, and a mysterious illness. Although the prose is clear and relatively simple, the characters are well-drawn, and the author evokes the sense of the place and time. Although the novel has some hints of magical realism, the story is mostly realistic. The author does a good job of portraying the aspirations of Iranians from all walks of life during this tumultu ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Alisa rated it liked it
Unlike a few recent books that fell short of expectations, this one was better than I thought it would be. I was expecting that dull class of lukewarm 'ethnic' fiction, with technicolor descriptions of foods and spices, and lots of deep poetic talk about mothers and daughters.

Definitely it was about mothers and daughters. But there was very little food. Instead Nazis, ghost brothers on bicycles, and sweaty lodgers who go to door-to-door selling the hair of the dead. Chamedooni is a great name, d
Apr 01, 2011 Abigail rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Bizarre, fascinating with a tragic ending, but the story kept drawing me back in. Now that I've had time to allow the story to digest, I think I really liked it. It was so different from anything I'd ever read.

The book is the narrative of a Jewish Iranian girl growing up in pre-revolutionary Tehran describing the dissolution of her parents marriage. Not exactly light stuff, but the characters were strong, colorful and at times darkly humorous as is befitting Iran in the late 1970s. I don't regre
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
This book is well written and covers a number of unusual territories--the first is Jews living in Iran (the era is under the Shah, so it is not a book of religious oppression) and the other is a child growing up deaf in a family that refuses to accept it--not all that uncommon. The writing style is unusual and very good--the author has a neat voice that moves at a quickyet leisurely pace that I found quite wonderful.
Jul 29, 2014 Sheila rated it really liked it
I feel this story is about relationships and how to work together with obstacles. Yeah maybe in that time cultures shouldn't mix. Not even helping a deaf girl get along in life they couldn't do. To make a difference and be better than what's thrown at them.

I was drawn to the characters. They were so different but still the same. Wanting to please and wanting to run. Cultures might be different. But the story is all the same.
Jul 17, 2010 Stacy rated it liked it
This was an interesting book, but I was expecting more on Iranian women, more on deafness, more on growing up Jewish in that culture. The potential for exploring and enhancing the story with details of Iran during that era just wasn't developed. If I hadn't read other books about Iran, many of the references would have gone right over my head. Still, an well written story with some incredible characters!
Stan Murai
Jul 26, 2011 Stan Murai rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
In the years before the Islamic Revolution, the son of a wealthy Iranian Jewish family, assimilated into the country’s mostly Muslim, upper-class, marries a young Jewish woman raised in the slums of South Tehran, near the old Jewish ghetto. Conflict immediately arises since each partner has totally different expectations of their marriage. A controlling husband wants a traditional subservient role for his wife who had hoped to benefit from a rise in status and start a career.
Ilana Diamant
Jul 26, 2012 Ilana Diamant rated it did not like it
Well written but derivative and dishonest in its attempt to pass off as a novel about disability (character's deafness is not only peripheral to the story but also an afterthought, a ridiculous if not offensive attempt to claim this novel in the category of "disability literature",and yes that category exists, an offshoot of "identity literature" and "identity politics" that have invaded literary theory since the 90s).
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just feel like other writers (see recommendations above) describe and elicit pre-revolutionary Iran so much more vividly. I was very excited to read this and had had it in my Amazon "wish list" for ages before I ordered it (saving up for a big order). Ultimately, though, I was left with a very dry, unsympathetic narrative. I did not connect whatsoever to the characters. Unfortunate.
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
A girl grows up in Isfahan, before the Iranian Revolution. The story feels like a memoir - lots of detail about religious (mostly Jewish)and cultural practices. It is mostly tragic, so don't bother waiting for the happy part to start. However each character has such depth and some of the side characters are so odd that the narrative is engaging all the way through.
Jan 10, 2011 sdw rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Gina B. Nahai is a best-selling author, and a professor of Creative Writing at USC. Her novels have been translated into 18 languages, and have been selected as “One of the Best Books of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. They have been finalists for the Orange Award, the IMPAC Award, and the Harold J. Ribalow Award. She is the winner of the Los Angeles Arts Council Award, ...more
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