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In the Walled Gardens

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Set in a world on the brink of destruction--Iran before the revolution--this haunting and passionate novel tells the story of a doomed love affair. Mahastee grew up in the privileged inner circles of Tehran's aristocracy. Reza, whose father once worked for Mahastee's family, has become a revolutionary leading clandestine meetings in the city's shadowy underworld. When they ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published August 11th 2003 by Back Bay Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 389)
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Good book about Iran before the Iran Revolution of 1979. Well developed characters and great insight regarding the culture, gender roles and class stratification. Plot was good (not great) and the ending was not as strong as the exposition or denouement, however, it is a wonderful read. I read it when I could during my distance commutes on the Metro. Recommend it to anyone interested in Eastern literature.
I found this book at Ceiba Tops, a great destination in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Somehow reading about Iran while visiting Peru was perfect. I couldn't stop reading about these two people who, because of class differences, would never become lovers. Perhaps it was too plotted but I felt so moved. I had a similar but stronger reaction to The God of Small Things.
This is a love story set in Iran before the revolution. The story weaves back and forth from two perspectives (his and hers) and takes you on a cultural tour of Persian life. The ending is lacking, well, an ending. Otherwise a beautiful telling of a complex story with heavy political overtones.
An exquisitely written book about life in pre-revolution Iran. It follows the lives of Mahastee, daughter of a wealthy, aristocratic family and Reza, a lower class intellectual Leftist reactionary. Her life illustrates the beauty of her childhood and the customs of an older generation of Persia, in stark contrast to her husband and his wealthy, hedonistic contemporaries, whose lives weave between ostentatious parties, affairs and business deals. Her life seems empty but busy until her whole beli ...more
Sam Thurman
I gave this novel three stars because I'm not usually big on fiction, but it is interesting and well researched. The social and political situation of a pre-revolutionary Iran centers around the love story of the two protagonists, Mahastee and Reza. The chapters vacillate between the perspectives of Mahastee, an aristocrat semi-oblivious to the sociopolitical reality she is sheltered from, and Reza, and intellectually prudent Leftist/activist whose Marxist ideology opposes the oppressive regime, ...more
Pamela Pickering
This book rec'd stellar reviews on another site. I wish I could agree. I was looking forward to an exploration of pre-revolution Iranian culture and emotion but both the writing and the story (in my opinion) were incredibly choppy and I've just had to put it down. The story is also told from the two main characters' perspectives and I had a hard time trying to figure out which character was speaking. A nice touch would have been to title each chapter with the character's name who was speaking--i ...more
This is a book that captivated me from the beginning. A tale of pre-revolutionary Iran told in dual first person voice. The first voice is Reza, a middle-class intellectual Marxist man. The second is Mahastee, a wealthy intelligent woman. Their lives were enmeshed in childhood, and now their lives become enmeshed again as adults. As the forces of revolution captivate the country, personal forces also reach out to capture the main characters. This book is not my typical "happily ever after" story ...more
Vinay Leo R.
The cover page has a quote review from the Daily Mail: “Elegant, aphoristic, and wise… A kaleidoscope of memory… The novel holds the reader steadily.” . I agree. This is Anahita’s first novel, and she succeeds in conjuring images of Iran before the revolution very well. She also manages to paint good character sketches and relations, like a high class person’s lack of respect for the lower class, the warnings of the lower class family not to expect anything out of a relationship with an upper cl ...more
I agree with Allie (who gave this book three stars) in that it was interesting to read about Iran during the time of the revolution. Historically, it was really fascinating, and dispelled some of the preconceived ideas I had of the place. This is why I gave this book two stars instead of one.

As far as storyline goes, it was one of those books where I read and read and really wanted some resolution at the end of the book...only to find that there is almost no resolution. My anticipation built up
It's so dark! Still, I'm going to keep reading, because in spite of the high-drama life of the female lead character, I like her and want to see things turn out well for her. I hope they do.

Again, I return to say it's just too dark. I can't wait to get done with this book, and I hope there's something refreshing by the end.

Now that I'm done, I feel better about the book. Never in my life have I had to live through what the people who inspired the book's characters have had to live through, which
It was okay I guess. It's set in Iran about a society that eventually got wiped away with the revolution. I guess it was interesting in the sense of learning about what society was like back then, and truly is different than what you would think today. Reading was a little choppy at times, and I think the end was a little unsatisfying. But maybe the author did that on purpose as commentary about the revolution and how it left a lot of loose ends in people's lives. I guess the book seemed to have ...more
Anne Van
This is a first novel set just before the Iranian Islamic revolution. It is a story of two parallel characters, an upper class married woman who is deceived and betrayed by her corrupt husband and leftist teacher who is deceived and betrayed by his revolutionary comrades. The novel seems a little jumbled up, but the time and place must have seemed just that way, too. Not the smoothest writing, and I thought of not finishing the book several times.
I wasn't really sure how to rate this. So I settled on 3 - for the crafty story-telling skill of the writer.

As for the sory itself - well.. I'm not sure.. didn't put me in a comfy spot. Being a Muslim, I cannot accept the way so-called Muslim Iranian runs their households and lives as depicted in this book.
Shivanee Ramlochan
Enjoyable, emotive, not-particularly-cerebral contemporary Iranian fiction with enough historical emphasis to weight it down, and enough character exploration to keep it from turning into a fictive primer on the Middle East experience.
Renia Carsillo
Beautiful, moving, and haunting. I couldn't stop thinking about this story for months after I finished it. If your interested in the truth about Iran before the Islamic revolution this is a great introduction.
An enjoyable book. It reaminded a bit ot the Kite Runner, same gernal area of the world and set in about the same time period. When all those coutires were changing so fast. A bit sad, but when is forbidden love happy?
Apr 16, 2008 Nancy added it
"Set in Iran before the revolution...a world on the brink of destruction.....a haunting and passionate story of a doomed love affair". I could not have said it any better.
The book could have been more interesting if it was better written. I found the writing style stilted and boring even though I was interested in the plot.
This could have been a brilliant book - everything was set up. Lovers who's drifted apart and meet later in their lives again. And poof! nothing.
Melissa W
Interesting book. While I didn't necessarily liked the book, it was ok and took me to a place that I only wished I could visit.
About Iran before, during, after the revolution. Good read, really interesting.
It is interesting to read about the fight but the story dragged on and on.
I bought it for the arresting, effective cover art. I liked the story as well.
Evelyn Mizell
I'm almost always in the mood for books about life in foreign countries.
Nederlandse titel : de ommuurde tuin
schitterend en meeslepend
it was kind of difficult to understand.
Very nice read...beautiful language
Couldn't put this one down.
Julie added it
Nov 07, 2015
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