Karen's Reviews > Rooftops of Tehran

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
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's review
Oct 24, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: review-copy
Read in May, 2009

Pasha and Ahmed's friendship, the characterization of a closely-knit neighborhood, the repetition of star-gazing as a motif, and the narrator's transformation from late adolescence to adulthood were my favorite parts of this debut, but it was an unsettling one to read.

The heart of the novel rests on a death and on one of the main characters' delayed, dramatic responses to that death.

When this particular character later explains the reasoning behind her decisions, it's difficult to understand why those decisions are presented as an almost noble -- even inevitable or romanticized-- form of resistance.

The suggestion that extreme times require extreme measures -- that the insanity of a regime's injustices can only be fought with acts of equally harrowing magnitude -- is a little hard to accept when you can't help feeling that the character was being selfish, too. Though the act may have stemmed from genuine anguish, it was also a calculated move with significant consequences.

Pasha's willingness to forgive and to love uconditionally becomes all the more notable; not everyone would have the strength of will to accept everything that takes place by the end.
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