The influence of a written word is undeniable. It is part of the reason we love to read. And how it has the ability to shape our lives cannot be demonstrated any more powerfully than Ms. Kamali's intertwined stories shared inside the pages of this novel. It might not be in the way we expect it as a reader, but the impact is all the same.
The mix of history and culture wrapped inside and around a set of achingly heartwarming love stories transported me to a different time and place. It is a place that is so very different, but exactly the same as where we exist today. That thought is both soothing and disheartening. How there is a sense of consistency and steadfast belief in the power of love keeps me hopeful. But seeing the same discrimination, prejudice, and societal bias in our world today, after decades of sacrifice and effort, leaves me like Bahman Aslan: wanting to be the boy who helps to changes the world.
The characters' individual stories and how they intertwined with each other (in both the past and present) was poignant in this narrative. It might have been me, but I almost found there was too much going on at times. The tangle of facts, perspectives, and timelines left me focusing on the logistics of what was occurring instead of immersing myself in the emotional draw of the story. And there were certain times throughout the novel where actions occurred abruptly, almost causing me to flip back a page to be sure I didn't miss something.
But there was still plenty of emotional pull that allowed me to forget I was reading a story and instead imagined myself seeing life through the eyes of a fictional character. This novel and Ms. Kamali's writing does an admirable job of revealing what it was like to live in Tehran during the 1950s. I found this to be more of a love story with historical fiction worked into it instead of the other way around, which is perfectly okay by me.
If there is one overarching reminder that this story provides, it is this: a single moment in our lives has the power to shape who we become. And the accumulation of those singular moments can be both binding and liberating in ways we might never fully understand as human beings. But in the end, love always wins.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️
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