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Children of the Jacaranda Tree

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3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,927 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
A COUNTRY DIVIDED BY REVOLUTION A PEOPLE UNITED BY LOVE

Neda is born in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen
...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Atria Books (first published 2013)
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  • Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
    Children of the Jacaranda Tree
    by
    Release date: Apr 29, 2014
    Set against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq War, Delijanis story tells of an interrelated group of Iranians, all of whom are negatively affected by the ...more

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    Giveaway dates: Apr 27 - Jun 05, 2016

    Countries available: US

    Format: Print Book

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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    Jane
    Aug 04, 2013 Jane rated it did not like it
    The idea for this book is powerful. The story is about the children of those who were jailed in Iran during the revolution of the 1980's. The author herself was born in a prison in Teheran. Her uncle was executed after a long prison stay. I think that perhaps the author is too close to the events to render them as fiction. I did love the story of the aunt who raises her sisters' children. She fell in love, but gave up this love, who was fleeing the country, in order to stay and take care of thes ...more
    Kim
    Jul 19, 2013 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

    I wanted to read this novel from almost the moment I knew of its existence. The author was born in Tehran’s Evin Prison in 1983, where her mother was a political prisoner. The work explores the life of Iranian political prisoners in the 1980s, the mass killing of leftist prisoners in 1988, the ongoing impact of imprisonment on relationships between former prisoners and their children and the cycle of dissent and oppression in Iran, with its most recent manifestation in the mass protests after th
    ...more
    Trish
    Jun 14, 2013 Trish rated it liked it
    Shelves: fiction, mideast, ebook
    On the eve of the 2013 presidential election in Iran, Shahar Delijani invites us to look at what past elections have meant for three generations rooted in post-revolutionary Tehran from 1983 to present day. This is a novel that reads like a memoir, tracing the experiences and thoughts of Iran’s disenfranchised and dissident population. If ever you wondered what it must have been like to be a part of Arab Spring as it played out in massive demonstrations in Tehran, this is one woman’s attempt to ...more
    Diane S ☔
    Jun 20, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
    Shelves: roadrallyteamb
    3.5 Wavered between 3 and four, so I settled on this rating. This book starts out in 1983 in Tehran's Evin Prison, where a women is about to give birth in horrendous circumstances. This is a touching story about a group of young people who believed things in their country needed to get better and suffered for their idealism. It is about families, raising the children of their children who are either in prison or have been executed. Broken family bonds, children that did not know who they belonge ...more
    Marina Nemat
    Jun 17, 2013 Marina Nemat rated it liked it
    Children of the Jacaranda Tree is a novel, a work of fiction, but it is based on the experiences of its author, Sahar Delijani, and her parents, who were imprisoned in Evin, a prison in Tehran, Iran, in the 80s. Thankfully, all survived the experience. Ms. Delijani was born in Evin in 1983, and, from what I could gather, spent a few months as an infant in the prison with her mother. Ms. Delijani has no memory of Evin, and, according to a Q&A on her website, her description of the prison has ...more
    Christoph Fischer
    May 20, 2013 Christoph Fischer rated it it was amazing
    "Children of the Jacaranda Tree" by Sahar Deljani is a beautifully told selection of interwoven stories about people in Iran between 1983 and 2011.
    The first story tells the experience of a pregnant woman who has been arrested and gives birth in prison. She and her fellow inmates become temporarily enchanted by the arrival of the child, which sadly is then taken away from them.
    The description of the political situation and religious oppression after the revolution in Iran is greatly woven into th
    ...more
    Lynda
    The story
    With the success of the movie Argo, a new generation is coming to learn about revolutionary Iran as a scary and dark place, but with little context for what was happening to the Iranians themselves. Children of the Jacaranda Tree offers some perspective.

    Opening with a woman giving birth while being held prisoner (refer "The author" below), Children of the Jacaranda Tree tells the stories of three generations of men and women in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2013. The older gener
    ...more
    Greg
    Feb 18, 2013 Greg rated it liked it
    I wanted this to be so much better than it turned out. It's still a good book - I'll stand by the three stars, but it doesn't live up to its potential, or to its virtuoso beginning.

    Delijani is obviously passionate about Iran, and that comes through on every page, but she often loses the thread of the story, or rather she doesn't seem to have a firm idea of the story she's trying to tell. It could have almost worked as a series of short stories, but in trying to tie everyone together the plot ge
    ...more
    Jennifer D
    Feb 27, 2013 Jennifer D rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arc, 2013-books
    probably 4.5-stars, really.

    okay, so this was an amazing read for me...up until the last chapter. while the final pages were beautiful, they were a bit more disjointed in their flow. so rather than seamlessly coming together, the branches of this incredible story, it was a bit of a bumpy close. as though, perhaps, a bit of grafting had occurred. heh. see what i did there? yeah i know. sorry. :/

    but...this book is very much worth your time. delijani's writing is gorgeous. its evocative and almost
    ...more
    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    I'm throwing in the towel on page 78, as part of my continuing effort not to waste precious free time continuing to read books that aren't working.

    This book put me in mind of Burial Rites, in that it sucks you in by opening with a character in a horrific situation, apparently in hopes that readers' instinctive emotional response will prove strong enough to keep us invested, although it soon becomes clear that the author lacks sufficient skill at characterization to actually interest us in the ch
    ...more
    Patrice Hoffman
    The debut novel Children Of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani immediately captures the audience with the birth of Neda in an Iran prison. The preface suggests that much of the story is taken from experiences in the authors life. I can only wonder what parts are true to her life and what isn't. The novel follows the lives of people who's lives are changed by the social unrest in post-revoluntionary Iran, from 1983 to 2011. Delijani explores how history has changed characters such as Neda, Mary ...more
    Karen
    Jan 27, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
    Shelves: first-reads
    This story grabbed me from the first paragraph. It is set in post-revolutionary Iran, and delves into how the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war forever changed families' lives. This was a war in which many thousands of people were executed, others spending years living in inhumane prison conditions. The author’s inspiration comes from her own family that was affected by this war, an uncle executed and her parents imprisoned. Those readers looking for a story that is action packed will not find that ...more
    Alena
    Jul 27, 2013 Alena rated it liked it
    The stories in this book span 30 years in the recent history of Iran, often brutal and terrifying. And, while it's novel, I think it reads more like interconnected individual stories. In fact, my issue with the book is that I never fully engaged with the characters. I liked the writing, but just when I found myself really caring about someome, we were on to the next prison story.

    Still, I appreciate the unique perspective of this book. Iran is an interesting case of multiple generations rising up
    ...more
    Tracy Keck
    May 07, 2015 Tracy Keck rated it it was ok
    I feel a little bad rating it so low because I learned a lot and it was probably important, but I was just so bored.
    Marion
    Aug 12, 2013 Marion rated it really liked it
    Shelves: favorites
    Both heartbreaking and beautiful, "Children of the Jacaranda Tree" is set in Iran from 1983 to 2011. This powerful first novel, by Sahar Delijani, vividly portrays the brutality and horror inflicted upon political activists who have courageously opposed the tyrannical regime of modern day Iran. Through a series of anecdotes taken from the lives of a handful of people - parents, children, grandparents, lovers, husbands and wives - the author tells a larger truth of idealism and hope rising up aga ...more
    Angela
    Jun 17, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: iran, revolution

    This beautifully written debut novel by Sahar Delijani is set in Iran, covering a period between 1983 and 2011. In the pages of this powerful book, we read of the lives of a number of people caught up and changed forever by the events occurring in Iran between these years.

    Following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in the late 1970s, many thousands of the population became disillusioned with the new regime. Many decided that they needed to make their feelings and thoughts known, but their protes
    ...more
    Karen McMillan
    Jul 14, 2013 Karen McMillan rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction
    This astonishing and beautifully-written book shines a light on the plight of political protesters during the 1980s in Iran – a time of brutal crackdowns by the regime, a time of violence, imprisonment, and in some cases, death. It also follows the children of the activists and the impact on their young lives. The novel follows a series of characters from the 1980s until the present day.

    A young married woman, Azar, gives birth to a baby girl in the depths of Tehran’s Evin Prison in harrowing ci
    ...more
    Mirella
    May 13, 2013 Mirella rated it really liked it
    This book starts with a gripping first chapter. A pregnant woman in labour is blindfolded and transported to a prison hospital to have her child. She must not deliver until she gets there. It is a shocking start for the book which progresses with more vignettes that often left me flabbergasted. After a short while in the women’s care, these babies, born in custody, are stripped from the mother and sent to relatives and friends to be raised. The novel focuses on what happens to these children as ...more
    Andrew
    Jun 10, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
    Maman Zinat did not respond. She seemed too upset to speak. Aghajaan too fell silent, drinking his tea in one angry gulp. Leila turned her gaze away from her mother and father and let it glide on the large chunky wardrobe that no longer contained any clothes, only blankets and covers for the three children. She had never understood why her sisters had kept on fighting even though the revolution was over, a war had taken its place, and everyone was first struggling to make a new beginning and lat ...more
    Terri
    Mar 02, 2013 Terri rated it really liked it
    Shelves: first-reads
    I received this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I was immediately drawn in by the cover art it is beautiful and as the story progresses it is very symbolic. This story reads more or less like a series of short stories that as the book progresses you realize are all interconnected through both familial relationships and life events. This book spans a time frame of just over 30 years and teaches us the resiliency of the human spirit as thousands of families suffer the hard reality of r ...more
    Carly Thompson
    2.5 stars. This novel had a strong opening chapter--a woman imprisoned in 1983 Iran gives birth in a prison hospital and is able to keep her baby for a short time before her daughter is taken away and given to her grandparents. It was a truly heartbreaking chapter and the author expertly describes the sites and sounds of the prison. The next couple chapters tell the stories of other men and women imprisoned in the 1980s by the Revolutionary Guard and then the action shifts into the present day a ...more
    Lori
    Aug 09, 2013 Lori rated it it was ok
    I love the cover of this novel! It has an intriguing title and an excellent opening story!!!! 5 STARS FOR THOSE!!!

    The story itself falls short due to lack of character development. Every character seemed exactly the same having no outstanding characteristics, personality traits or personal interests that set them apart from each other. The story jumps back and forth from the 1980's to 2011 with new characters being introduced in the last 70 pages. These characters had a "background" that in mos
    ...more
    Connie D
    Apr 01, 2016 Connie D rated it really liked it
    The blurb:

    Set in post-revolutionary Iran, and told in interconnected, alternate perspectives, Children of the Jacaranda Tree is a deeply personal tale that gives voice to the men, women, and children who won a war only to find their lives—and those of their descendants—imperiled by its aftermath.

    My Comments:

    I'm having a difficult time rating and describing this novel, which is why I chose that quick explanation. All the characters, mostly relatives, have been affected by the Iranian revolution,
    ...more
    Karen
    Mar 21, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok
    I feel a little bad about criticizing a book that involves a fictionalized account of the author's own painfully real experiences as a child. But I feel like this book simply does not rise to its full potential.

    Delijani shares the stories of several Iranian men, women, and children who got caught in the midst of the brutal political upheaval of the Iranian revolution (early 1980s) and, later, the Iranian Green Revolution (2009). The men and women are imprisoned for their activities during the fi
    ...more
    Beverly
    Jan 25, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story is comprised of chapters that, at first, seemed to be individual tales but as you continue to read, the characters and story lines are interwoven. The novel is set in post-Revolutionary Iran and filled with memorable people whom you cannot help identifying with because regardless of the individual circumstances, everyone falls in love, feels joy and pain and learns details of their lives past when they should have. A woman gives birth while still ...more
    Tripfiction
    Novel set in Iran (“the children of the revolution”)

    More a collection of essays, this novel introduces the reader to the harsh reality of Iran, post revolution, from 1983 onwards. A large number of characters populate the book, across all ages, and at the beginning there is a list of players detailing who is related to whom.

    Evin Prison in Tehran held the political prisoners who had started to make their voices heard in int he country, and follows the lives of various characters up to 2011. From
    ...more
    Patty Mccormick
    Dec 08, 2013 Patty Mccormick rated it it was ok


    This book is a new release for June 18th, 2013. It is from Atria books. I obtained a free e-copy for review from NetGalley. I was excited to read this book. I loved the title and the cover is beautiful! This book is based on real, little known events in Iran. Delijani was actually born while her mother was in Evin prison. Sadly, I didn’t feel a connection with the story though.

    The story is about activists in Iran and their incarceration in Evin prison in Tehran. The setting is 1983 to 2011. In 1
    ...more
    Suzanne
    Herself born in Evin prison as a daughter of political prisoners, the author crafts an important and moving portrait of a handful of families that were affected by the arrests and subsequent imprisonment in Iran following the Muslim Revolution. The novel spans the years from 1983 through 2011, and we are offered an opportunity to see how the children of these revolutionaries carry the same fire and hopes for a freer Iran as their parents. Unfortunately, they are also witnessing firsthand the sam ...more
    Dawn
    Mar 10, 2013 Dawn rated it really liked it
    Advanced Reader’s Copy: Anticipated publish date: Jun 18 2013 by Atria books, a division of Simon and Schuster



    ”We all have a tree inside us. Finding it is just a matter of time.”



    In 1979, the people of Iran rose up against the Shah of Iran, who was seen by many as a dictator, and as a puppet of the western powers. They succeeded, and in the political chaos that followed, Ayatollah Khomeini was invited to return to Iran, and asked to found an ”Islamic Republic”. In the years after, the Ayatolla c
    ...more
    Becky
    Jun 19, 2013 Becky rated it liked it
    CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE by Sahar Delijani
    I found this book to be both enormously interesting and vastly disjointed. It was difficult to follow the characters and time lines. Characters came and went with alarming frequency. Time jumped back and forth from the early days of the Iranian Revolution to the present with stops in the middle.
    My attention was immediately captured in the first few paragraphs, but then the next chapter moved to another time and place with new characters and I was
    ...more
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    Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives with her husband in Turin, Italy. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel.

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    “We all have a tree inside us. Finding it is just a matter of time.” 7 likes
    “Childhood slips away when death settles in.” 6 likes
    More quotes…