Caspian Rain
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Caspian Rain

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  66 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...more
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Published September 25th 2009 by M P Publishing Ltd. (first published January 1st 2007)
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Fatima
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
Kate
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...more
Tara Chevrestt
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
YoSafBridg
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...more
Abdi Nazemian
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
Jumana
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.
Amy800
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...
Lorri
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
Lesley
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
Shahrzad
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...more
Sheila
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.
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

...more
Amanda
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.
Andrew
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
Kristi
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...more
Mamoon Khan
Very well written- I would say. But the ending is pathetic. I was expecting Omid will come back to Bahar and they will live happily ever after............. but reality was more harsh than what I expected.
Kelli
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...more
Maltaise
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
Jaki
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...more
Alisa
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...more
Abigail
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...more
Stan Murai
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.
E. Ilana Diamant
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).
Catherine Woodman
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.
Stacy
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!
sdw
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Shiva
This is a beautifully written book about life in pre-revolution Iran, that depicts the lives of two Jewish families from very different backgrounds. The story describes the Iranian society during the Shah's regime, with all its cultural and social intricacies. The prose is simple, straightforward and, at the same time, very insightful.
Sharry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leslie
Compulsive book-finisher that I am, I kept on until the end - but regretted it. Did learn a good bit about the Persian community around the time of the Shah and afterwards but it wasn't worth the work. This was one of the most depresseing books I've read in a while. Flat characters, flat writing....
Melissa
Well written, sad tale set in Iran just before the overthrow of the Shah. The narrator is the daughter of two very different people from clashing backgrounds and through her story the author examines class distinctions, gender issues, and cultural divides in pre-revolutionary Iran.
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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
More about Gina Nahai...
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