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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  547 ratings  ·  77 reviews
This extraordinary, gripping debut is a rags-to-riches-to-revolution tale about an orphan girl's coming-of-age in Iran.

It is the early 1950s in a democratic but restless Iran, a country newly powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious divides and by the politics of a larger world hungry (especially the West) for its resources. One night, a humble
Paperback, First Canadian Edition, 456 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Knopf Canada
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  547 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm kind of having a hard time trying to think of what to say about this book. I was actually expecting to like it a lot more than I did. I didn't particularly dislike anything but I felt like it was just good, not great. It was a slow character driven book and the character development was extremely well done. All of the characters had such individual and real personalities. You could really see their strengths and weaknesses and feel what they were feeling; like they were real people.

That said
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

This book takes place from 1953 to 1981, in Iran, at the time when political unrest is occurring, culminating in the Iranian Revolution. We meet Aria, who was abandoned as a baby, and found by Behrouz, who raised her as his own, with the help of three mother figures. We follow Aria from this time through the revolution.
This book had positives and negatives. What I enjoyed was learning more about Iran and this time, as I certainly do not know enough about the country. The negative to
Farhad Sahabi
Jul 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Overrated and Heavily Inaccurate and Biased Account of Iranian History

As one commentator pointed out, Aria is nothing but a “mediocre soap with the noise turned up”.
It is full of historical errors and inaccuracies. I give A FEW examples. 1) In the first chapter set in 1958-1959, a political group called Fadaian Khalgh is mentioned. This group was founded in 1971. 2) In the last chapter, Khomeini, while landing in Tehran, is described wearing a WHITE turban. Like Ayatollah Khamenei, the current
Sheryl Klinkhammer
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received the book Aria (Nazanine Hozar) for free via Goodreads for my consideration.
I really enjoyed this book. It is about a young girl living in Iran during the Shah's reign. Aria tells her story amidst the political strife of her country, but only through the eyes of the non-political children.
I loved the characters. They were very realistic. The story flowed beautifully. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Gina Morphy
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Of course, sometimes in stories those who seem good are bad, or those who seem bad are good.”

This was different than any book I’ve picked up before and I am so glad that I read it. Before reading this book, I knew nothing of the Iranian Revolution. ‘Aria’ brought to light some heavy and harrowing political topics, weaved into a story about a child left for dead in the slums of Iran. I felt captivated by poor Aria’s life, spending her younger years locked on the balcony by Zahra and sometimes
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like there's so much for to say, however I feel like I can only say a few words. I wish the book had not stopped. The book could have had 1000 pages and I would have been happy. I really enjoy the storytelling of Aria's life and of Iran.
I'd recommend this book.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
well written story but i didn’t connect with it at all
Allie Lane Sandu
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wish this story had been written differently, because there were elements that I really liked. Overall though, the style made it impossible for me to really get into it.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
3 Stars. I wanted to like this book so much more, but felt it could do with a lot of editing, because there were a lot of useless actions throughout. It brought to mind the Kite Runner, but not as beautifully constructed. The historical setting was a good starting place and the author using children coming of age to show the growth of the Iran revolution was enough to keep me reading. It could be better.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tehran 1953-81, from the coup that brought the Shah back to the coup that brought Khomeini. Follows the life of a baby left in the gutter.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Aria is a stunning and heartbreaking novel. I was captivated the whole way through.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book to be long winded. I thought it would be another Kite Runner, but it certainly was not. It was an ok read. Nothing great.
Elisabeth Manley
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5*** I have a hard time rating this one because I actually did like it so almost gave it a 4 but some storylines confused me or didn’t really explain themselves or wrap up. There just seemed to be a lot going on and a lot of side stories on top of Aria’s own story which sometimes seemed unnecessary. However, with everything going on there was always some level of excitement or anticipation whether it was Rameen and Behrouz, Aria’s young love story, finding her a new non-abusive mother, the ...more
Katie Meyer-Robinson
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't like this book for one reason: it could not hold my attention. My mind consistently wandered as a read and sometimes whole chapters would pass where I wasn't even sure I really registered what happened. So, don't trust my review - it's not really fair to give it only 2 stars if I didn't really "read" it.

I will say, though, that I tend to blame myself when I can't focus on a book but I'm beginning to think it's not entirely my fault - I've read lots of books that I've found to be
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I struggled through this book. It’s well written and I like how it was divided into parts but I just never got into it. It dragged in parts and other parts just felt like filler. I probably should have done a little research into Iran’s history before starting Aria. While I did recognize some historical figures without some basic knowledge you can get lost fast. This is definitely a character driven book, they were all developed well, I just didn’t connect. It was hard to root for someone, I ...more
Marion Listgarten
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe even just 2.5 stars. Characters lacked depth. I had no empathy for any of them. Historical background too sketchy.
Aug 19, 2019 added it
Could not finish! Boring.
Sandy Brown
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I like the complexity of the multicultural perspective and a lot of elements of this book but I am disappointed in the dubious aspects of characters’ actions and plot development.
Sara Wyper
Aug 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Actually did n't finish it. Boring and too much info that doesn't mean anything to the story
Annie Chipman
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
When she was a mere few days old, Aria’s mother abandoned her in an alley in Tehran, Iran. Aria is the story of the orphaned girl growing up amidst the revolutionary struggle for power in Iran in the 1950’s. The book is split into four parts, each based on the four mother roles in the book.

It is difficult to give this book a fair rating because although I did my research as I read along, I still do not have a full grasp on what took place in the novel. Owing in large part to my own ignorance on
Amy Lowry
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful and wrenching story. Perfectly constructed with just the right amount of detail.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book from goodreads. It was an interesting book but I found some of the situations a little hard to believe. The connections between the young girl and the people she meets just did not seem possible. I did enjoy learning about Iran and how their world changed.
Ombledroom είναι η θεία Κούλα
Soap. Meh. Gave it 115 pages. More than enough.
Aug 18, 2019 added it
Recommended to Mapleleaf by: Chapter's Heather's Book Club
Barely a week old, Aria was left by her mother in an alley during winter. Luckily for her, a driver for army officers, Behrouz Bahktiar, heard her whimpering and rescued her as she was surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. He brought her home to his wife, who was twice his age, and hoped that she would take care of her while he went away for the week to work. Zahra, his wife, often gave here no meals and left her locked on the outside patio all day and sometimes at night. Kamran, a boy living with ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting account of Iran in the last years under the last Shah(Reza Pahlevi) & under the Islamic republic which ousted him under Khomeini. It describes the tyranny of both regimes, as well as the economic divide which was represented by the poor south & the rich north of Teheran. It presents the religious & cultural diversity of the city with a Christian Armenian, a Jewish family, Shiite Muslims....many of whom have retained to a variable degree some of the ancient ...more
Melanie Persaud
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I listened to this book. I suspect it might have been a better read. The narrator’s mispronunciations and questionable dramatic choices really got in the way of me connecting with the characters. Was she narrating or performing? Either way, crucial meaning and impact was lost in her rendition as she muddled through. Aria’s “confession” of her past was such a moment and it was read/performed so poorly that it minimized the character’s development and the story’s arc. I wish narrators received ...more
The setting is Tehran, Iran; the era: 1950's, during the Iranian revolution that replaced the Shah with the Ayatollah Khomeini. The history told in this book is fascinating. We are told the story through the eyes of an orphan girl, Aria. During this tumultuous time, in a country wealthy with oil, people were feeling trapped and left powerless and voiceless.
Aria was found in an alleyway just days after her birth, by a good and kind man who was a driver in the Iranian army. He gave her this name
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

In this story, we follow a girl, Aria, from her first breath through to adulthood and motherhood. Aria was born in the "south-city" part of Tehran to a woman who gave her up, and found by a kind and compassionate solider who took her in. Throughout the story we see Aria get passed from family to family, living in different parts of the city, and although she endures a great deal of hardship, it seems that her families do all care for
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wanted to love this book so bad!! Ugh, I tried...really really tried, several times to get through it and I just couldn't. While the beginning half of the book was absolutely captivating with writing that made the country, era and characters come alive, I found myself starting to get lost in a lot of additional details in the latter chapters. The details in some places began to take away from the plot, which travels back and forth through time. I wanted so badly to know what happens in the ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Modern day, Persian storytelling at it's best that poignantly looks behind Tehrans' multicultural past that lead up to Ayatollah Khomeini's Iranian revolution in 1979.

Nazanine Hozar writes beautifully about a girl's struggle for survival during a time when poor-uneducated women had few choices available to them when faced with real life & death issues. Aria & a cast of well developed characters literally jump off the page & pull you into their daily lives through complex & highly
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