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The Septembers of Shiraz

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,080 ratings  ·  904 reviews
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Adrien Brody and Salma Hayek

In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known. As Isaac navigates the terrors of prison, and hi
Paperback, 340 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Ecco (first published 2007)
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Kai "My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose…more
"My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire?"

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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Septembers of Shiraz, Dalia Sofer
The Septembers of Shiraz (2007) is a critically acclaimed debut novel by Iranian American author Dalia Sofer. It narrates the lives of a well-to-do Iranian family during and after the Iranian revolution which additionally overthrew the Shah and ushered in the Islamic republic. There is also a subplot involving a Hasidic family in New York.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2009 میلادی
Dalia Sofer's 2007 novel, ‏‫‭New York‏‫‭: Ecco‏‫‭, 2007‏‫‭ = 13
Elyse  Walters
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this book on sale for $1.99 a few minutes ago --(Kindle special) ---

I read it when it was first released years ago and still remember the story. Great story --for a great price!

Its about a Jewish/Iranian family -- in Iran during the 80's revolutionary period.
The head of the family-- Isaac owns a Jewelry store. He is making too much money under the leadership of the Shah-- is captured --sent to prison (accused of being an Israeli spy --but really its because he successful in business) --
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: national geographic book list

Engrossing and brilliantly written for a debut outing. Combine this with interesting subject matter and a delicately evocative cover and you have a winner. It's rare that I'll read a book in one sitting. I am an eternal fidget. tidier and mover of small objects, however The Septembers of Shiraz managed the impressive feat of keeping me seated for four hours and that is to be applauded. Had it not been for this books inclusion on the National Geographic books and novels for the Middle East list,
I always feel somewhat iffy about novels set in Iran. I'm starting to realize that I -- an Iranian-American who tries to connect to her heritage in a variety of ways -- am not the target audience for these kind of books. These books seem to be written for a different target audience -- the American population at large, which still seems to think of Iran as a monolithic country where people only ever wear black, where the culture is rigid and forbidding. In actuality, the culture is rich and fasc ...more
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A can't-put-it-down-even-though-I'm-also-reading-Harry Potter book. Author's debut novel, and I can't believe how well she can write. It's about the Iranian revolution in the early 80s, and a Jewish family...father gets arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in the first paragraph. The story holds your interest from then on. Gives insights into Iranian cultural, class conflicts, women's plight, what it's like to wear the scarf all of the time [like little elves crunching paper in your ear]....
Like most of the literature I've encountered that deals with the Iranian revolution, this novel comes from the perspective of a privileged family. While it rationalises the motives of the people who abuse them, giving those abusers a few chances to express their feelings about the inequality and oppression that drove many sections of society, certainly not only religious conservatives, to call for an end to the rule of the shah, in general I felt it compels sympathy with the family and their mil ...more
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i had high hopes after reading all the reviews, but was disappointed. it's a well-organized and thought-out novel in terms of structure and plot, but the characters didn't do it for me. i felt i was skimming along the surface of their feelings, and the writing also didn't particularly stand out. i'd still be interested to see what sofer does with her second work though, primarily because her background as a persian jewish american interests me.
Fantastic story and book. I first came across this as I am a huge Adrien Brody fan and try to see every one of his films as my library gets them. The movie was excellent, so I decided to get the book as well. It is far far more detailed than the movie with loads of people that are not in the film.

I highly recommend this book and hope she comes out with another one soon.

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book is both less and more than I expected. From a pure entertainment standpoint, I was disappointed; not so much because of the pacing (which is on the slow side, although the book is a quick read overall), but because I was hoping for a book that read like historical fiction, while this one read more like a contemporary family story--with the twist that the father is a political prisoner. Nothing objectively wrong with that, and if you like modern-day stories about families you'll probabl ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the different voices in this book. The story is interesting and really puts in perspective what it is like to live under and ever shifting government as a child, businessman, and a mother in Iran. What if your values don't conform with those of the ruling elite? How do you come to terms with that? Or even survive? What can a child do?

My one complaint is that the book didn't go on long enough. There were a few issues that I wanted to hear more about. I especially wanted to hear
Doreen Petersen
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A delightfully moving read.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
We read to go other places, to sample other lives. Reading, for me, at times lets me escape into lives I’d never want to lead, into places I’d never want to go.

The Septembers of Shiraz takes me deep into these lives I’d never lead, places I’d never go. Isaac Amin, along with his wife, his young daughter, and even his son in distant America, suffer the changes revolution in Iran creates. The persecuted become the persecutors. There is no safe place. Fear and anger breed more fear and anger. Hatre
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I previewed this as a potential book for Gettysburg College's Syria & Iran: Beyond the Headlines series, to be held in 2014-15. There will be one book discussion each semester (in addition to lectures and film screenings). The series is a continuation of Conflict & Resistance in the Middle East, held during the 2011-12 academic year.

Septembers is the story of Isaac Amin (an Iranian-Jewish gemologist) and his family in the days after the Iranian revolution. Amin is targeted by the Revolutionary G
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-and-fiction
This is some sort of a fictionalized memoir, a novel based on the author's life, and the lives of her family. It takes place in Iran in 1981-1982, right after the deposition of the Shah of Iran. Isaac is a Jew, born and raised in Iran, he is a jeweler and gemologist, he has accumulated a certain degree of wealth, has a beautiful home and a summer house, has traveled abroad and has rubbed elbows with the old regime. He knew his days were numbered in the new Tehran, and one morning he meets his fa ...more
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really beautiful novel about a Jewish family in Iran; the father is imprisoned, accused of being a "Zionist spy" after the fall of the Shah, and his wife, teenaged son, and nine-year-old daughter must cope with his sudden absence and their fears about his fate. A couple of reviewers have used the word "delicate" to describe this novel. That seems apt to me, because of the gentleness and compassion offered to every single character (even, astonishingly, the sadistic and repulsive Revolu ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a gorgeous and captivating semi-autobiographical read that follows a Jewish family of four through the fall of the Shah in Iran and the ensuing revolution. Through a crackdown on wealthy citizens and an imposed moral code, Isaac Amin, a self-made successful gemologist and socialite, is imprisoned and held without charges. The period of imprisonment is narrated by all four family members: Farnaz, the housewife and world traveler with expensive taste but a big heart, Shirin an intrepid nin ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not a review, just a reaction. I got to 67% in the Kindle read and DNF.

It's not poorly written, in fact the style is smooth. But I cannot remember a book in the last two years in which I felt so removed from the characters. Only the father himself, in the prison, could I begin to approach for his depth or cognition. The others were so hopeless in spirit and joyless! Static in movements and depressed of thought and sleep-walking in actions or else duplicitous and conniving. And beyond tha
Charlotte Guzman
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always taken in by these stories of characters from the middle East. I literally anguish over the life journey of these characters such as in this story with Isaac as the main character. My heart was in my throat so many times wondering if he would escape prison life, be killed, or go free and find freedom.
The sad part of the story is the choice he makes to save his family and give them a life of choice and freedom. Leaving a place you have so many memories in is a hard choice to make. It
Sep 09, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This debut-novel from Iranian-born Dalia Sofer has received great critical acclaim. I was hoping to like it as much as The Kite Runner or Reading Lolita In Tehran, but I didn't. The story-line and plot were compelling, but the author hardly explored the depths of her interesting characters. They felt more like caricatures.

Sofer has great promise as a writer. This novel reminds me a lot of Julia Glass's Three Junes: good, not great, and followed by an outstanding second novel. I look forward to
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
In an interesting contrast, I read this one just after reading "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Septys. They are similar in that they describe little known events in 20th century history, and the fantastical turns that history takes when you are arrested not for crimes, but for who you are.

This one is better written than "Grey" however, and the storyline had a greater depth. The characters had a bit of need to be fleshed out, but by the end, you were captivated.

A delightful read, even though the
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars
Angie Fehl
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

It opens in September (obvs) 1981, during the Iranian Revolution. Isaac Amin, an Iranian rare gems dealer living in Tehran, finds himself surrounded by police one day at work. They notify him that he is under arrest for being a possible government spy. Yeah, they don't even have any solid proof at this point, but they make it clear it doesn't matter. He's immediately hauled off to prison, his wife casually notified of the whole scene some time later, when she has to go seek out herself
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was excellent. I had a hard time putting it down. It is beautifully written. In some ways, this book reminds me of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri -- language and style, caught between cultures.

The story takes place in post-Revolutionary Iran and tells the story of a Jewish family -- Isaac, Farnaz, Shirin and Paviz -- living in Tehran. Told in the voice of each of these family members, this suspenseful story begins when Isaac, a gemologist with associations to the Shah, is arrested by th
I finally got around to reading this book (copyright 2007). I thought it was well written. I really got caught up in Isaac Amin and his family's story. Let's just say, I couldn't put it down. I constantly asked myself, what if this were happening to my family? What would I do? I can't imagine being so scared of your every move or the possibility of being turned in by your neighbors or co-workers, to be questioned about your daily life activities, to be charged, tortured and executed because of y ...more
Marcy prager
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Marcy prager by:
I was engrossed immediately in the drama of a missing Jewish gem dealer named Isaac who had been abducted in Tehran, Iran on the heels of the Iranian revolution, accused of being an Zionist spy. For months on end, Isaac lived his life in prison, tortured and beaten. His wife and daughter await his return, not at all sure if he will return. From riches to rags, Isaac rehashes his life in prison with his wife, his son, who lives in N.Y. City, his daughter, his abusive and alcoholic father, and his ...more
Tess Holthe
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Post Revolutionary Iran of 1981, Sofer gives us a gripping, elegant tale, of a Jewish gem trader Isaac Amin who is arrested one day and accused of being a Zionist spy. From four enlightening perspectives: Isaac’s, his daughter Shirin, his son Parviz and his wife, Farnaz a tale of hope, betrayal, possible friendship and the legacy of Post Revolutionary Iran, unfolds.

Although the story sounds bleak in synopsis, I found Sofer had magic in her touch. From the very first page, I could not
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've picked up this book, because it is not easy to find a true story about Iran. True story means based on an authentic experience of people who lived and worked there and in a certain moment had to face transformation of this country – from civil to religious under the strict islamic law. As it happpaned with all revolutions (in this case against shah) people began to take revange, to humiliate other people, to steal their belongings, to fabicate forged accusations. Of course everything in the ...more
Nov 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults with an interest in the Middle East, Iran
Another fictional memoir of life after the fall of the Shah in Iran, this is a well-written account told from multiple perspectives of the various family members of an imprisoned
Jewish businessman and how each of them finds the inner strength to cope with the effects of his imprisonment. I think it's, in some ways unfortunate that there has been such a slew of books about Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan this year as they tend to dilute one another. I'm thinking specifically of A Thousand Splendid Sun
Stephanie Anze
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though the book (initially) was a liitle hard to really get into, by the end I was a believer. I love the story told from the four different points of view (which usually I am not a fan of).I am not exactly well versed in the history of Tehran, and reading The Septembers of Shiraz was like geeting a glimpse into this world. The array of emotions I felt while reading this varied from anger to sadness, relief to elation. Any story that can do that is golden to me, they allow a reader to reall ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook............A moving story of a year in the life of an Iranian family in post-Shah Iran. This story weaves together the threads of one family's experiences when the father is imprisoned and tortured and the reverberations which resonate throughout three generations. The characters are so believable in all of their humanity, including their foibles, their strengths, their courage, and their fear. On a societal level there is a thread which addresses varied forms of faith, its true believ ...more
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The Septembers of Shiraz is Dalia Sofer's first novel. She was born in 1972 in Tehran, Iran and fled at the age of ten to the United States with her family. She received her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002 and has been a resident at Yaddo. She currently resides in New York City.

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