Dalia Sofer, the author of The Septembers of Shiraz, is an Iranian Jew who fled with her family to the United States at the age of ten. She writes with feeling for the country of Iran, and with the authority of someone who understands the terror of the uncertainty of life during a revolution.
Isaac Amin, the main character in The Septembers of Shiraz, is a wealthy Jewish gemologist and jeweler in post-revolutionary Tehran. As the novel opens, Isaac is arrested at his office, blindfolded, and imprisoned. His wife, Farnaz, and nine year old daughter, Shirin, have no idea where he has been taken. As Farnaz searches for Isaac, he is interrogated, tortured, and placed in solitary confinement.
Farnaz and Shirin attempt to continue with their lives. Isaac and Farnaz’s son, eighteen year old Parviz, has already been sent to study in New York. He is a tenant in the basement apartment of an Hasidic family in Brooklyn. He struggles to continue his schooling, while surviving without family support.
Isaac’s previous connections to the deposed Shah, though tenuous, leave him and his family in jeopardy. While he is imprisoned, the family home is searched. Isaac’s office is looted. Farnaz begins to suspect that Habibeh, the family’s long-time housekeeper, has stolen items from their home, as well as betrayed them to the revolution.
The Septembers of Shiraz is a moving depiction of a family whose very lives are on the edge. Throughout the book, I hoped that they would come through this ordeal alive, all the while knowing that they would never be the same.
I found this novel compelling, and easy to read, and highly recommend it.
Published in hardcover-HarperCollins-2007