Aug 18, 2009

Review: Rooftops of Tehran: A Novel by Mahbod Seraji



From the publisher's description:

"In a middle class neighborhood in Iran's sprawling capital city, seventeen-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend, Ahmed, joking around and talking about the future. Even as Pasha asks burning questions about life, he also wrestles with a burning secret. He has fallen in love with his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. And despite Pasha's guilt ridden feelings for her, over the long, hot days his tentative friendship with Zari deepens into a rich emotional bond.

But the bliss of those perfect stolen months is shattered in a single night, when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences, awakens Pasha and his friends to the reality of living under the rule of a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice from which Pasha may never fully recover.

In a poignant, funny, eye-opening and emotionally vivid debut novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality infused in the centuries old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share: laughter, tears, love, fear, and above all, hope."

This is a touching love story of two young people who have deep feelings for each other in spite of tradition and custom that have made other plans for them, and despite political circumstances that also change their fate. Pasha and Zari are neighbors whose innocent and seemingly carefree summer suddenly becomes serious and tragic.


"And so every night, Zari and I get together on the roof. I never see her. She sits on her side of the wall, and I on mine. Ten centimeters of brick separate us, but I can almost feel her warmth. I press my palms against the wall and imagine I'm touching the curves of her face."

The author, Mahbod Seraji, is working on a second novel and says that he may write a sequel to Rooftops of Tehran, continuing where Pasha and Zari left off. We can only hope he does that! I gave this book four stars.

(Book given by the publisher for my objective review).

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14 comments:

  1. I just love cultural fiction so I am definitely planning on reading this one. Thanks for the review.

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  2. This is the first I hear of this book. I like the quotes you've included in your post; it sounds like a good read. Would you recommend this one?

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  3. Jessica: would most certainly recommend it. It's nice to read about familiar themes in a different setting.

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  4. Very interesting. I think I'd want to read this. Thanks for the review Harvee :)

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  5. I read this book. It's one of the best I've read this year, if not the best! I gave it 5 stars in my review on Amazon!

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  6. Wow, now I really have to find me this book!

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  7. This is one that I've been thinking about reading for a while. Knowing that you've given it such a high rating has made me move it a little higher up the list!

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  8. ahhh lucky you in receiving this book!!! I entered a contest to get this one. It sounds so interesting. I can't wait until I get my hands on this one (I'm waiting until at least the library has it)

    great review and thanks for the info.

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  9. The characters in this story resonate and stay with you. You live thier every moment as they become part of yours. I think this book came out at an important time historically and I hope Seraji's voice will have even greater resonance now. Writers have such important role in making other people's experience familiar and relatable. Seraji does this masterfully. This is a must read.

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  10. Thanks for the review--this is one I definitely want to read.

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  11. When does the movie come out??? This was a great read. I loved the characters, especially Ahmed. I can tell Seraji has a great sense of humor, and the book is so culturally relevant right now too!

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  12. Great review, thank you Harvee. I will add it to my loooong reading list.

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  13. I enjoy reading about other cultures. Thanks for the great review and recommendation.

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