June 8, 2009

In the Walled Gardens, by Anahita Firouz

Set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, In the Walled Gardens, takes readers on a journey they will not soon forget.

The novel, a first by Ms. Firouz, is a beautifully written narrative following the lives of several characters caught up in the chaos surrounding them as they witness their country and culture falling apart.

The story focuses mainly on Mahastee, an upper class woman married to someone she is not in love with, and Reza, a former childhood friend who is now directly involved in leading the revolution. Mahastee has grown bored with her existence, which is spent with her work, raising her two sons, and tending to her duties as the wife of a rising successful businessman. Reza spends most of his time with revolutionary actions.

They come together in a chance meeting and begin to renew their friendship, and eventually begin to have an affair, albeit a doomed one. Firouz wisely chose to focus not so much on the love affair between the two characters, as much as she focused on their feelings and reactions to their changing way of life, as Iran moved toward revolution.

This book is filled with danger and intrigue and offers a wonderful and very detailed insight into life in Iran before the revolution. I think this is one of the main reasons I enjoyed the book so much.

That, and I really appreciated her writing style...it was sparse but poetic. She didn't write superfluously. Every word seemed to be carefully chosen, and she wrote just enough...not too much, not too little.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction.


  1. Just went on the to-read list. Thanks!

  2. I may have to pick this one up... once I get rid of my 20 books I'm reading this summer already. That's why I love this blog, I get to find new books without having to move from the couch.

  3. Have you read the killer angels? I think it qualifies as historical fiction. It was one of the best civil war books I've read to date


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