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Song of a Captive Bird

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,349 ratings  ·  624 reviews
A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing poet Forugh Farrokhzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice and her destiny

“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh Farrokhzad

All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossipin
Hardcover, 401 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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 ·  3,349 ratings  ·  624 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I won a copy of this book through one of my book groups. I had NO IDEA how good this book would be.

This book is inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad. She was amazing! She went against the grain of what an Iranian woman should be in those times. She was a great poetis, feminist and activist.

Thank you to Retro Chapter Chics for getting me involved in this book!

And this is me
a woman alone
on the threshold of a cold season
on the verge of understanding
the earth's polluted exi
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toward the end of last year I joined the moderator team of the group retro chapter chicks. We take part in a variety of historical fiction and nonfiction history group reads and discussions, and are given an occasional opportunity to review advance reader copies. One such book is Song of a Captive Bird, the debut novel by Jasmin Darznik, an Iranian American literature professor who resides in northern California. Although this book is slotted as a group read in a few months, I was drawn to the p ...more
Elyse  Walters
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook....narrated by Mozhan Marno 5++++stars!!!!!
BEAUTIFUL NOVEL!!! ......Historical Fiction doesn’t get much better!!!
......this is a fascinating story about a powerhouse Iranian woman - poet and filmmaker - who died much too young.
Author Jasmin Darznik’s impeccable research shows...its ‘clear’ the work she put into this novel. History in Iran came alive.....before and after the revolution - Poety- literature - history-politics - Philoso
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 brilliant masterpiece stars to Song of a Captive Bird! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Happy Publication Week to Song of a Captive Bird - available now!

The author of Song of a Captive Bird, Jasmin Darznik, is an Iranian-American whose family fled Iran prior to the revolution. Darznik is now a literature professor and spent years researching Forugh’s life. Everything about this book is immaculate. The smooth writing, the on point characterization, the research; it’s all top shelf. Iran in the 1950s and 60s came to l
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Iran in the mid 20th century was not a fun place to be a woman. A girl’s education stopped when she was fourteen. A lack of virginal blood on a wedding night could send a bride into banishment. And a girl was forbidden from being outside without a chaperone and it was frowned on for a married woman to be in public unattended. Everything revolves around a woman’s honor. “Mine was a country where they said a woman’s nature is riddled with sin, where they claimed that women’s voices had the power t ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2019
“Song of a Captive Bird” is a novel inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad, an iconoclastic Iranian poet and film director who died in 1967 at the age of 32. A controversial figure, Farrokhzad embodied a new feminism in Iran at a unique time when Western influence surged in Tehran and then ebbed during and after the Iranian Revolution.

Darznik takes what is known of Farrokhzad’s life story and embellishes upon those facts to create the narrative of a young woman determined to be fre
Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

3.5 stars

In Song of a Captive Bird (a beautiful and perfect title), author Jasmin Darznik is the voice for Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. Forugh - an influential poet of the 20th century - was notorious for rebelling against cultural norms, especially in her work.

Forugh's accomplishments come at the expense of her reputation and family life. In her thirty-two years she has been through so much pain; all she wanted was to be loved for who she was. Darznik captures that and uses her own words to
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Forugh Farrokhzad, known simply as Forugh, died in Iran 50 years ago aged 32. Her poetry was banned in Iran in 1979 and her grave is a place of pilgrimage still. At great personal cost, she broke down many barriers to pursue her art - cultural, social and structural. I had never heard of her and was attracted to the book mainly because I enjoy Middle Eastern writing. I don’t think I even realised that it was about a real person.

Jasmin Darznik inhabits Forugh’s life so convincingly that
Jennifer Blankfein
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The beautiful cover of this powerful debut caught my eye and after perusing the summary on the book jacket I was compelled to read and recommend this to one of my book groups. We wanted to focus on strong women and Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik fits the bill!

This story, based on the life of Forugh Farrokhzad, focuses on a young Iranian girl who as a child pushed the envelope when it came to respectable, traditional, female behavior. She had an interest in poetry, writing at eleven yea
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mesmerizing story of a brave woman seeking the freedom and independence to write heartfelt and brilliant poetry

Song of a Captive Bird is a fictional account of Iran’s most infamous and iconic woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. She was a literary sensation, and acclaimed filmmaker, who was both loved and hated within her country. A country she loved and would never leave. The book follows her turbulent life, from her controlled and abusive childhood, though her oppressive teenage marriage, t
Stephanie Anze
" was my preference for books and the world inside my head that left me so incapable of accepting the usual and the ordinary. The more I read, the more I longed to let lose the words inside me."

Forugh Farrokzhad is the one of the daughters of Colonel Farrokzhad. Expected to be meek and quiet, devoid of any disobedience, Forugh is the complete opposite. Not wanting the traditional life of a woman in Tehran, Forugh is vocal in her rebellion but it comes at a cost. Married off early to avoid b
4.5 stars Very well done biographical novel, depicting Iran’s most infamous/revered female poetess and the upheaval of regimes. The American interference in Iran’s economy, and its influence as well as the tide of rebellion for independence against colonialism is a facet of their history of which I was sorely ignorant. Although a novel, the book seemed almost to be nonfiction, which is a testament to the careful research and very well developed characters.

Highly recommended.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to thank Jasmin Darznik for her honest description of an Iran we do not often hear about, the Shah's modern Iran. It's restrictions, brutality.
Forough Farrokhsad grew up in the Shah's Iran. One can only imagine the courage it took Forough to follow her calling, writing poems, poems that read like a story. Her courage to express herself as a woman, feelings we women experience along our lives.
To understand her determination not to be silenced, one has to understand "modern" Iran. Women w
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book and even though it’s 416 pages, I finished it in a day and a half. The story follows loosely the real life of an Iranian poet named Forough Farrokhzad. She was a rebel in a world where women weren’t allowed to be rebellious. She was the embodiment of liberal thought living amongst people who would prefer women to raise families and be obedient. She had a voice in a place where women were told to remain silent.

I didn’t know much about her and if you try to Google For
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed this story. I had to keep reminding myself that this was not an autobiography, it had that feel and I think it worked well. I really like learning about new people I haven't heard of before and not being into poetry, I had never heard of Forugh but I'm likely to never forget her after reading this book. This hist fic story gives us a glimpse into her life and an impressive one for so short a time here. The author's notes in the end brought this one to a wonderful close and I th ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
'Song of a Captive Bird' follows the story of poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzhad and her journey from rebellious adolescent to repressed house and a fearless poet whose art cause an almost irreversible chasm to develop in Iranian society and empowered thousands of women to reclaim their voice and sense of identity beyond the narrow one which men had imprisoned them in. Forugh was more than just a poet and artist; just like the oil well fires of Ahwaz which she filmed, her incendiary prose was ...more
Xiomara Canizales
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-read, arcs
The story of this book is based on the life of the Irani poet Forugh Farrokhzad.
Since poetry is not a genre I have any knowledge nor is Iran history I have no idea who this person was.
My main problem is that the story didn't add any information I found in Wikipedia about this poet, so if you what recreate her life you may find this read interesting but the facts are not necessarily truthful.
POPSUGAR reading challenge 2018 14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you
Yelda Basar Moers
"Mine was a country where they said a woman's nature is riddled with sin, where they claimed that women's voices had the power to drive men to lust and distract them from matters of both heaven and earth...Because I was a woman, they wanted to silence the screams on my lips and stifle the breath in my lungs. But I couldn't stay quiet."

I love to hear of unheard stories of women who fought bravely for women in history. I just finished Song of A Captive Bird, a new historical novel that chronicles
4 Stars

ARC provided by Ballatine Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review contains minor spoilers concerning differences between known facts and fiction.

Song of a Captive Bird caught my eye on Netgalley. I normally avoid fictionalized accounts of real people. It's a personal hangup, but it makes me uncomfortable when authors make such big presumptions about real people for the sake of fiction. But Song of a Captive Bird covers a time and place often overlooked by books, s
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On sale for $1.99 (Kindle Daily Deal) today! It’s a steal! This is a great story!

Song of a Captive Bird is a fictional depiction of the life of Iranian poet and film director, Forough Farrokhzad. She was known for writing poems in a simple, modern style from a woman’s perspective. The novel tells not only the story of her life but it also paints a picture of what life was like for women in Iran during this time period, between 1935 and 1967.

Miss Farrokhzad was a woman too modern for her time and
Renée (bookishblissandbeauty)
*An advanced reader ebook copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed this book. I love that bits of Forugh Farrokzhad poems are peppered throughout the book to mark important points and changes in her life. It was a small taste of her work but I was blown away by the raw authenticity of her words that connected with me. After reading this novel I'm extremely interested in her reading translations of her work.

Reminiscent of many trailblazing
Jill Dobbe
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly thoughtful, artistic, and well-documented book about the life of the famed Iranian poet, Farugh Farrokzad, by an Iranian-American author who still has roots in Iran. Farugh's poems live on today despite their banishment in Iran, and Farugh's notorious reputation.

I could not put this book down from the minute I began reading it. I was enthralled with the story (some fiction, some non-fiction) and the author's honest writing, which gave a truly modern picture of Farugh's carefree, b
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this debut novel! It's wonderful when I learn something new about another culture and (in)famous person from a country extremely different from my own. I listened to the audio version of this book, and it was fantastic! Highly recommend!
Karen KK
I received this from in exchange for a review.

A well written and thought provoking fictionalized account of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokzhad.

May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Oh sky, if one day
I want to fly from this silent prison
what should I say to my weeping child?
“Forget about me,
for I am a captive bird?”

I'm that candle that illuminates the ruins
with her burning heart.
If I choose darkness
I'll destroy everything around me.

~ from “The Captive”

In writing about Forugh, I wanted to go beyond what was outwardly known about her – what could perhaps ever be known about her, given not just the reticence of those who'd been close to her but the fundamental inscrutability o
Viv JM
Song of a Captive Bird is the fictionalised account of the life of the late Iranian poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad.

Forugh Farrokhzad grew up in 1940s/50s Tehran, where girls were encouraged to be quiet and obedient, neither of which were traits Forugh possessed. The story tells of her early marriage, her confinement in a mental asylum and the scandal and disgrace that befell her as a result of her bold and frank poetry, as well as her liberated lifestyle choices in an oppressively conserv
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This historical fiction novel tells the story of Forugh, a famous Iranian poet and filmmaker from the 1950s. I actually didn't realize this was based on a real person until after I finished the book, but this woman definitely lived an extraordinary life in a time when women were still being silenced. While the subject is fascinating, I found the writing to be a little clunky. Transitions were rough and many parts felt repetitive. I'm inspired to read more about Forugh, but probably wouldn't read ...more
Samidha; समिधा
The first three hundred pages of this fictional retelling of the Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad’s life were remarkable. I hadn’t previously read any of her poetry, neither did I know about her. However, this version of her, in the 1930s where she was portrayed as a brave woman, who single handedly smashed her father’s/ husband’s and her entire family’s misogyny, was riveting. I sped through the initial half of the book, admiring the woman and her poetry. However, soon after a bit of her strong p ...more
Guy Austin
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recall in 1979 the first time I had heard of the country called Iran. From that first day I heard the words spoken, it would be many consecutive days that I would hear phrases that shaped my small understanding – The Hostage Crisis, The Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. There were images that crossed the television screen – Young male college age students, blind folded Americans, large crowds gathered around the American Embassy. This was the Iran I knew of. This was my view of the country. I ...more
Donna Hines
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
How much are you willing to give for your freedoms, your liberty, your independence, your ability to live life on your terms?
This was a feel good book about creating your own mark in the world and leaving the world a much better place.
When asked," Do you think there's anything I can do? Forugh responded with Because I'm a woman is that why?
When confronted with hurdles she not only crushed her competition she ran with the sword proclaiming her peace while altering the views of woman for decade
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