Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Children of the Jacaranda Tree” as Want to Read:
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Children of the Jacaranda Tree

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  3,069 ratings  ·  548 reviews
A stunning debut novel set in post-Revolutionary Iran 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.

We all have a tree inside us. Finding it is just a matter of time. Neda is born in Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Atria Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Children of the Jacaranda Tree, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Carmen yes, it has. It is called A la sombra del árbol violeta. It was published by Publicaciones y Ediciones Salamandra S.A (Barcelona) in 2014. I know it c…moreyes, it has. It is called A la sombra del árbol violeta. It was published by Publicaciones y Ediciones Salamandra S.A (Barcelona) in 2014. I know it can be found in bookshops in Spain. I hope this can help you.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,069 ratings  ·  548 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Children of the Jacaranda Tree
Jul 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: recentfiction
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
Jul 06, 2013 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
Marina Nemat
Jun 17, 2013 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 orig ...more
Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-east
The novel is set in a period when the triumph of the Iranian revolution of 1979 took away freedom rather than broaden it and liberals had to continue protesting, this time against the authoritative conservatism of the Islamic regime. To suppress this rebellion, clerics and militia were roped in from the poorer peripheries of the country and they exercised their new found power with an iron fist and sadism all too pleased to snatch away happiness, hopes and rights from the privileged. Ayatollah K ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mideast, fiction, 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
Christoph Fischer
May 20, 2013 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
Diane S ☔
Nov 28, 2012 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
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
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books, arc
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
Feb 18, 2013 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
Stephanie Anze
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded to 4 stars

As Azar is being transported, blindfolded, to a hospital to give birth all that is going through her mind is how she thought this experience was going to play out differently. A political prisoner of Evin prison, Azar is questioned even while in labor. When she finally gets to hold her daughter, some fears dissipate but others are born. Post-revolution Iran is tumultuous. Azar, along with her husband and plenty others, have been arrested for their political activities again
Jul 29, 2013 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
Karen R
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 11, 2013 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
May 17, 2013 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
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
May 13, 2013 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
Karen McMillan
Jul 14, 2013 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
Feb 10, 2013 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
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
Jan 25, 2016 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
Connie D
Mar 27, 2016 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,
Jun 20, 2013 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
Tracy Keck
May 07, 2015 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.
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reason I picked this book up was for one reason only. I am very interested in regional stories. I like to read about the stories of countries that had tumultuous pasts, stories where the country fails its people, stories where identity is lost, stories where war changes people...

I had read books about Afghanistan and Palestine, and I thought I would go beyond that. Well, my local bookstore made that easy! They beautifully combine these kind of books together in a specific section and you can
Andy Miller
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This absorbing novel begins with three chapters from Iran of the early 1980s as the Khomeni government repressed dissent including that from former allies in the overthrow of the Shah. Each chapter features a different family; Azar who gives birth to her daughter in prison after she and her husband were arrested for passing out leaflets and other forbidden political activity, Leila who along with her parents takes care of three children from her two sisters who have also been arrested for politi ...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
Mar 10, 2013 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
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I'm having heartburn about something that happened while I was alive and cognisant being historical fiction, but I think I have to settle into that idea!

A beautifully written story of the Iranian revolution's impact on a family who has several members incarcerated, on their children (one of whom was born in the prison,) and on themselves.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • American Dervish
  • The Book of My Lives
  • The Writing on My Forehead
  • Memento mori
  • Il malinteso
  • Διπλό κλικ στον έρωτα
  • Με κύμινο και αγάπη
  • Κόρη σε τιμή ευκαιρίας
  • Κάτι τρέχει με τη μαμά του Σάκη
  • Nubosidad variable
  • Koirapuisto
  • بوف كور
  • Βαλς με δώδεκα θεούς
  • La vida que aprenc
  • Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII
  • L'art de portar gavardina
  • Wrzask (Larysa Luboń i Bruno Wilczyński, #1)
See similar books…
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.

Related Articles

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
175 likes · 64 comments
“Childhood slips away when death settles in.” 7 likes
“We all have a tree inside us. Finding it is just a matter of time.” 7 likes
More quotes…