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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  282 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Finalist Best Nonfiction-Stanford University Libraries- William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Solacers tells the touching story of a 5-year old child’s search for family life and safety following the divorce of his parents in Iran during the 1960’s. The first child of a heartless father and a discarded mother is left to fend for himself on the streets of Mashhad,
Paperback, 297 pages
Published 2012 by Red Corn Poppy Books
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Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Living in a quiet corner of Canada, I seek books that move me and take me on journey to places different than my own. I look for inspiring stories from remote corners and cultures of the world. Books that help me become a better human, like this one or the ones written about the life of Gandhi. I borrowed this book from a friend who had won it at goodreads and was hooked from the very first page. A beautifully written human tail with perfection in the voice of the forgotten little boy. A must re ...more
Michael Jennings
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After reading Solacers, the reader will come away with the realization and validation for the justification in believing in a better tomorrow; this appears to be a recurring theme throughout the memoir. From the very opening pages, I found myself captivated by the ensuing narrative of Golmakani’s extremely hard and difficult existence in the back villages of Iran. Every page afforded me the opportunity to witness the author’s trials and tribulations—from the opening page to the last. So enmeshed ...more
This book was won in the First Read contest.

This book is based on the author's childhood in Iran. This book is from the 1950's through the 1970's. This book is heart-wrenching. Reading about how a mother and child can not be together. How a child is forgotten and disregarded. It is about being lost, having not hope and then it turns out that this child makes sure he finds his own way.

This book makes the reader want to cry with frustration or cry about the lost childhood. But this
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book and really enjoyed reading it. I felt such sympathy for the author, who struggled as an unwanted child in Iran. I found myself cheering for him and hoping someone would reach out to this poor, defenseless child and provide him with the basic necessities and, even more importantly, the love for which he so desperately yearned. Thank you for sharing your story!
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
You are a very brave man!! You have lead such an interesting life, full of hardships and yet you overcame everything and were able to achieve your goals. Your story really made me think about all the children out there who don't have families or permanent residences. I Loved that you acknowledged everyone who helped you. Your book was very well written.
Jerry Jennings
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, childhood
Solacers a memoir by Arion Golmakami

I really loved this book! Golmakami voice brings a captivating depth to his early life’s journey.

It is written with courage, honesty, love, and hope. The boy’s life story is unnervingly entrancing and depressing while also being dramatically fascinating due to his resolve to keep on keeping on. This memoir tells the story of an Iranian boy who becomes an abandoned child as a preschooler.

This makes him an orphan. It is complicated because both of his parents ar
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I just finished reading Solacers and must say how moved I was. The story brought tears to my eyes countless times. I was completely amazed that an individual can triumph as a man after such a neglected, lost, and abusive childhood. Albeit sad, the story is filled with hope. A must read.

I am buying a copy for a young man struggling with his past. This book can certainly help him focus on his future, believe in himself and become who he wants to be regardless of what is behind him. Thank you Ario
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
"Solacers" is a big look into a largely unknown culture from the point of view of one of the unprivileged inside it. I was touched by the matter of fact way in which the story was told, not only because of the bad times our young protagonist goes through, but also because of the way in which he decides to thank every single person that helped him along the way.

The writing itself would have benefited from a more exhaustive editing work. Even though the language is very good, the long sentences an
Kimberly Morghan
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this book pretty intense. The plight of the poor author as an unwanted child of divorced parents forced to try to survive on the streets of Iran was compelling. I couldn't believe how much optimism he had throughout all the amazing hardships he had to contend with. I read the book straight through with barely a break. The author's narrative style jumped around a bit and was repetitive at times, but this didn't really detract much from the story itself. It was a worthwhile read.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
An interesting glimpse into life in Iran during the late 1950-1970s. This is the true story of a little boy caught in the tug of war of divorced parents in a country that doesn't have the same family court system that we. A very shocking and hard story to read at times. I really grew to love this little boy quickly. The strength of the human spirit really is remarkable! Maybe not the most well written memoir but certainly a good read!
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
A very enthralling read of the author's life growing up in Iran. There were times that I felt like I was almost there with was happening, and other times that I just wanted to read more of what was going on :)

Thank you for having this in the first-reads giveaway program also and giving me a chance to win and review this copy. Thank you Arion! :)
Mohsen Hamedi
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
خوندمش، لذت بردم، بعضی جاهاش چند قطره اشک ریختم، بعضی جاهاش شاد شدم خندیدم خوشحال شدم، بعضی جاهاش هیجانزده شدم، بعضی جاهاش باورم نشد،....... در پایانش منم امیدوار شدم به جهانی که "من" و "تو" "ما" بشوند
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you loved The Glass Castle or Angela's Ashes then this is the book you've longed for! I cried, laughed, prayed and cheered on Arion Golmakani from the first page. He had an incredible story to tell and his grace, forgiveness, and acceptance of his life and others is truly to be admired!!!
May 06, 2011 marked it as to-read
I won this book from the first reads giveaways and I am so excited to read it. Thank you.
Suzanne Smythe
interesting journey , from a young boy who was left on his own from an early age .
Diane Alexander
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Arion Golmakani’s memoir, Solacers, is the story of his often grueling and always challenging childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran. It will grip you from the first page, as a little boy is taken away from his mother, yet again, with her permission. If you’re a little boy in Iran in the early sixties—unwanted by your family, passed from one foster home to another—where do you go, what do you do, and where do you find solace?
You might expect this to be a depressing tale, and that this young boy wou
Gordon Field
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This story was absorbing as we trace the desperate plight of a young Iranian boy whom neither parent would support. His wretched early circumstances were followed through many vicissitudes to a successful life as a business owner in America.
stephanie rake
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My friends and I read this book will to everyone and their families and mine a great time because we took turns like I read a page and lilly and Owen take turns to reading together
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iran
Bravo to you and your life dear Arion. You are a very evolved soul and may you ever dance in the Light.
Sharee Hirschi
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A heartbreaking insightful look into a culture I know very little about. Great book!
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a really good book, I was not able to stop reading after I started.
Ahmad Sharabiani
علیرضا Alireza, Arion Golmakani
Elisabeth Glas
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal - tough, at times cruel, and yet so beautiful. I rarely cried so much, less about the tragedies than about the love and optimism that kept him going. Life is good after all.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful read. I liked that it didn't offer any "solution" or justification for the characters' behaviour. Everybody is fallible and weak, and there is nothing much to do about that. A sad read, but leaves you wonder.
Irene Fischer
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, this was a very enlightening book…a child who succeeds against so many odds. A truly good human being who is able to look at people with continued love for them within his heart. It was very hard for me to not be angry to the point of thinking of individuals as heartless while he looked more at their kindnesses. For instance, there was one women who when she was around housed and feed him. However, she did not make arrangements for him and locked up her home and left town leaving him to fen ...more
Rula Zein-Iddin
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is hard to express how angry and frustrated this book made me feel. Naturally my full empathy was with our long suffering hero but what I constantly struggled with was a sense of incredulity over gaps & missing facts. Little things like how the cost of an academic year (which he could not afford to pay was only twice the cost of a bus pass to Tehran which he did manage to get his Aint to pay for!)

Arion admits the book was not edited (due to additional cost) and I think his story suffers f
Asha Greye
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
In 1960s staunchly patriarchal Iran, there is only one thing worse than having a dead father, having an alive father who refuses to support you. At the tender age of 5, after his mother remarries and gives birth to his stepfather's first child, young Alireza is expelled from his mother's home and given over to an abusive father who does not want him, for the simple reason that his father refuses to pay Child Support. What follows are 12 years of bouncing between foster families and mostly unsymp ...more
Leonie Drew
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A friend suggested I read this book but I cannot say I enjoyed it. It was terribly sad and at times heartbreaking to read of the author's childhood in Iran during the 1960s. He was abandoned and somehow survived. It is an amazing story of human resilience and perseverance and although it is the story of the author's childhood we also glean a picture of Iran and the Iranian people during the 60s and 70s. You must read it but be warned you may not enjoy it. However you will feel hope and admiratio ...more
Daisy Mathis
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful memoir of a young boy growing up in Iran about the same time that I was in Peace Corps there. It captures the feelings, attitudes, moods, and challenges of Iranian culture in the 60's and 70's.
Wilma-willie Langeland

A heart warming story about a young Iranian boy who fights his way out of poverty and makes away for himself even against all odds. Beautifully written.
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Q&A with Arion Go...: Welcome Everyone 4 12 Oct 30, 2011 10:52AM  
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Arion is an American author of Iranian origins. He was educated at College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.

Arion's first book Solacers was 2012 Best nonfiction finalist- Stanford University Libraries- William Saroyan International Prize for Writting. Solacers was translated into Persian and German in 2015
More about Arion Golmakani...

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“When there is love, sharing the have-nots feels just as good as sharing the haves. We” 0 likes
“My grandfather always said happiness germinates more happiness, and misery germinates more misery.” 0 likes
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