Book Rec. of the Day

In the fall of 2000, I trudged my way through a fairly miserable semester in an MFA writing program. It was the wrong place for me for a variety of reasons, and I wound up dropping out. I had one friend in the program, though, and she was the best thing about the experience for me in a lot of ways–not only because I had good company on the train, during breaks and during that one particularly horrible weekly seminar, but because her writing was… unbelievable. Shimmering, gorgeous, light and yet often devestating. She was in a league of her own, and no not only (duh) in the mediocre land of MFA programs, but in the general sense, as compared to much of what’s out there.
After I quit the program, I begged her to keep sending me chapters of her novel-in-progress, less out of altruism than out of a desperate need to know what happened next.
Well, lucky for you, Dalia Sofer’s The Septembers of Shiraz is now in print. It’s already gotten a rave review in the New York Times, and I suspect that’s just the beginning. It’s the story of a Jewish family in Iran right after the Revolution–Isaac Amin is arrested for being a spy for Israel and winds up in the kind of prison from which people don’t necessarily return. In the wake of his disappearance, his wife tries to find him, his young daughter tries to make sense of the confusion, and his son is, well, off in New York living among Hasidim. I confess that I haven’t read the final version, but given how phenomenal her early drafts were, I’m not concerned.
Here’s what the NYT says:

“The Septembers of Shiraz” is a remarkable debut: the richly evocative, powerfully affecting depiction of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran shortly after the revolution. In this fickle literary world, it’s impossible to predict whether Sofer’s novel will become a classic, but it certainly stands a chance….she tells her characters’ stories with deceptive simplicity. Every member of the Amin family attains a moving, and memorable, depth and reality. Although their crises — and the philosophical questions they raise — are of the greatest urgency and seriousness, “The Septembers of Shiraz” is miraculously light in its touch, as beautiful and delicate as a book about suffering can be.

Anyway. I’m kvelling. You should just be glad that you get to read this book.

2 thoughts on “Book Rec. of the Day

  1. yea, for all the tzores up there on pondfield road, they still do fire out some quality books!
    I feel you though.

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