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The Book of Fate

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  7,842 ratings  ·  654 reviews
A bestselling novel in Iran, despite being banned twice by the government, The Book of Fate follows a teenage girl in pre-revolutionary Iran through five turbulent decades, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present in this powerful story of friendship, passion, and hope.

A teenager in pre-revolutionary Tehran, Massoumeh is an avera
Paperback, 447 pages
Published August 31st 2013 by Anansi International (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,842 ratings  ·  654 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Sahm-e man ("My Share", 2003) = The Book of Fate, Parinoush Saniee
A teenager girl, passionate about learning. On her way to school she meets a local man and falls in love - but when her family discover his letters they accuse her of bringing them into dishonor. She is badly beaten by her brother, and her parents hastily arrange a marriage to a man she's never met. Facing a life without love, and the prospect of no education, Massoumeh is distraught - but a female neighbour urges her to comply: '
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed by the ending in this book.. But I loved the story and I loved her character so I went with giving it a 4. I'm a little surprised by some of the comments about the protagonist.. I thought the things that happened to her were well worth the self pity and I found her to be a strong woman and mother despite this. This book truly represented motherhood and sacrifice to me, and I saw zero weakness in that until of course the last 30 pages or so..
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was indeed a 5 stars one.
It shows you the power of sacrifice at its highest pick, the mark of a war, of traditions, of community for families and especially women in Iran.
Made me realize that things that I get for granted in my life could be so hard to achieve for others.

I couldn't stop reading it. Truly recommend.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't the first book I read about the hardships of that era of Iran's bloody history weather it was a memoir or a fiction, the other books narrated how the lives of their characters were affected and shaped by the years of war, fear, executions and separation , they expressed a certain political opinion towards the Shah's fallen regime or the Islamists , condemning or praising
But this book was all about Massoumeh herself more than her life shaped by Iran's political transformations, I didn't
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it

Extreme mixed feelings about this book. I loved it while at the same time I hated it. The entire life of Massoumeh is spent with her working so hard not for her happiness but for the sake of survival and for her children's happiness. She deserved an awful lot more than what she got. What bothers me so much and what I just can't seem to wrap my head around is the ending. After all that time, she still didn't end up with poor Saiid. Who
Reading Badger
Despite being banned twice in Iran, “The Book of Fate” is a bestseller and a book that will change your perspective on life. Complex and easy to name it intense, the story will make you read it in one go. I was passing through lots of emotions during each page turn so I totally recommend it to anyone. The author, Parinoush Saniee, is subtle when it comes to revealing painful facts about Iran. You will discover a hidden world through the book’s lines.

Massoumeh, a strong character that you will ha
Miruna Moroșan
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are no words to describe this book.
I didn't expect to be such a life-changing book. I must say that I lied about ALL the books I said they were life-changing. This ONE is LIFE-CHANGING
It makes you believe that women have power and in the end you discover they don't. You discover that for every decision you make you must look for others opinion. Just something you can't describe in words. If I were to draw a painting, I would draw birds because they are free but they can't reach the univers
One of the reviewer on GR called this a masterpiece.

I couldn't agree more.

I was hooked from the first page. My only disgruntlement is that the book isn't thick enough. As I reached the final page, all I could think of was, 'Where are the rest of the pages??! It cannot end like this.'

When you feel that way, even after reading 450++ pages and you still cannot get enough of it, you know you have found a real gem; a story that is worth reading and will be in memory for years to come.
كوثر الشريفي
What can i say about this novel... It was an easy-read. I felt I could identify with it in every way, as the society I live in is not so different from other eastern societies in terms of culture and norms. I have read before and had some idea about the revolution in Iran, but this novel gave me more insight into what happened to the simple individuals and people in the country and shed some light on to how different societies suffer from the same political and social hypocrisies. I could really ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heart wrenching and painful at times, I lost count as to how many times I cried, still I enjoyed this book very much. If you are familiar with the culture and history of Iran pre and post revolution you can understand that this story can very much be real. Set against the backdrop of pre and post revolution Iran the narrator and heroine of the story is faced with obstacles that are beyond her control and rooted in an oppressed culture. Thought provoking and constantly suspenseful, my only gripe ...more
Tanja Berg
Was it a good book? Certainly. Did I enjoy it? Not so much. I spent the first third of the book feeling horror over how Masoumeh was treated by her brothers. She was intelligent, a good student and in love. They destroyed all that and forced her to marry a man she had never seen. Hamid turned out to be a revolutianary. He had blisfully modern ideas, but left his family alone a lot to pursue his own ideals.

This book was certainly an eye-opener. I have read very few books in an islamic setting. T
Cristina Mazilu
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Just like everyone else, i jumped on the bandwagon and read this book.
Wow! What a terrible and miserable life! A life full of tragedy, pain and suffering. I can’t believe that after all these years of hard work and self dedication, she did not get a happy ending ( due to many factors such as: public opinion, fear, age, and most of all due to her ungrateful-spoiled-irrational children). This book is quite something, the only thing that bothered me a bit was the length of it. I would make it at l
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was born in iran and spent my childhood there. Reading this book has really helped me understand my parents' generation and learn about what life was like during the revolution, the war, and the aftermath. Enlightening read. Reminds me of the Kite Runner, a little bit, in that by reading it you learn about life during war, turmoil, and chaos.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel that i will keep remembering for the rest of my life. I can totally relate to the novel events and small details that took place in the Iranian society and no one can really understand unless they really lived them in reality
It came as no surprise how much Yemeni and Iranian society share and have things in common.

Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good as an iranian writer I liked it but the way of ending made me angry. but it was a true talking.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It showed a woman's strength and compassion in such a male dominated country, it was frustrating at times just how oppressed she was during her life.
Nicko D
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, great, great! Awesome storryteller, my deepest applause to Parinush Sanii
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
[5/5 Stars]

I still can’t believe that this story ended....just like that?

I read this book in three days, and yet, I feel like it has been years. It was such an emotional ride and despite the book being relatively short, it felt so long.

Not sure how I feel about reading this book, but I know I’ll be thinking about it for a while and that I learned a lot.

Never was interested in politics (don’t think I’ll ever be), but I was shocked at my ignorance when it comes to this topic. I had no idea tha
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, read-in-2017
I loved every part of this book and I can't wait to speak about it all around me!
Please note that the translation (Persian to French) was not great, and the French Title is also poorly translated and does not truly reflect the power of this book.
Eric Wright
Saniee's story of the life of one woman from her childhood during the time of the Shah, through the Islamic Republic, the turmoil leading up to Khomeni's return, and the oppression this rigid form of Islam introduced is sweeping yet intimate. She weaves a skilful story full of memorable characters into an easy to assimilate primer on Iran's last 50 years.

Massoumeh is an ordinary teenager, passionate about learning growing up with a supportive father, an emotional mother, and abusive brothers. T
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book of Fate is an account of 50 years of Iranian history told through the voice of Massoumeh, a woman who lives through massive socio-political changed and personal hardships. This book examines patriarchy from many lenses: from that of the individual oppressor, that of systemic oppression and the oppressive regime, and even that of its painful but unquestioning internalisation by its victims. Massoumeh's issues are issues faced by women in much of the world today, and the underlying bias ...more
Behrooz Parhami
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a best-selling debut novel by Iranian sociologist/psychologist Parinoush Saniee, whose writings were twice banned in her homeland. Sahm-e Man has been translated into English by Sara Khalili under the title The Book of Fate (2013).

Massoumeh, the novel’s protagonist, moves with her family from Qom to Tehran. Her family views girls as trouble and easy targets for corruption in the capital city. Massoumeh is envied by her older brothers, because she is bright and a favorite of their father,
Louis Skye
I read 'I Hid My Voice' by the same author and thought it was poorly written. Most of the praise for her writing was concerned with this book so I decided to give it a shot.

Despite its size, this book is a surprisingly easy read. I finished it fairly quickly and didn't lose track even when I took a break from reading it.

The prose is also quite lovely, for the most part. You actually forget that it is translated which is not something I can say about her other book. The story is coherent and lo
Ana Banana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you check through the books I have read you will see this is very much not up my alley (an alley populated by dragons, space ships, and histories). I ended up reading this for my book club and, much like The Other Boleyn Girl, I really enjoyed this book immensely. It follows the life of an Iranian woman from her adolescence through her elder years. She experiences many challenges through the reign of the Shah and Islamic Revolution, and we see how they shape and change her. There is a lot mor ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy storyline of an Iranian girl’s struggles in a patriarchal society and religious family where women’s roles were defined by their chores, the man they marry and level of obedience to the men in their lives. A story of self empowerment and self dependency, very much like the lives of millions nowadays in a world that hasn’t developed that much. An easy read - too bad there wasn’t as much political context as I initially hoped for.
Zeinab  Basma
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" All I ever desired I reached when I no longer desired it." 💔
Uswa Anjum
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History class never caught my attention in school. Nothing personal, it was just the setup and the way knowledge was presented. But I am very much interested in history and especially authentic books, which merge history with personal narration. It makes everything more relatable.

If you want to learn about the Iranian Revolution in late 70’s, then grab this book. A woman narrates her life through decades and how she is transformed bound to radically evolving historical circumstances. Very relat
Jomana Namavar
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
4.5 // one of my favorite books of this year however the ending felt rushed and the character turned out to be weak in my eyes towards the end.
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PARINOUSH SANIEE (پرینوش صنیعی‎) is a sociologist and psychologist. She worked as Manager of the research department in Supreme Coordination Council for Technical and Vocational Education Ministry in Iran. She has written several novels, of which SAHME MAN is the first; PEDAR-E AAN DIGARI is the second-also published to great acclaim in Iran; others are awaiting approval by the censorship board.


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