Title: Song of a Captive Bird
Author: Jasmin Darznik
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: February 13, 2018
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "All through her
childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be
quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways
to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her
mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse
with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict,
disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour
over café glacé. It’s during the summer of 1950 that Forugh’s passion
for poetry really takes flight—and that tradition seeks to clip her
Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and
falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve
freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous
and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified
by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding
love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous
cost. But the power of her writing grows only stronger amid the upheaval
of the Iranian revolution."
My Two Cents:
In "Song of a Captive Bird," Forugh is expected to fit into the mold of the ideal Iranian woman in the middle of the 20th century. She is expected to follow her parents' orders and do as she is told but she has a spirit that cannot be contained. She has a poet's heart and she wants to write. She wants to be able to call the shots on her own life. This is a phenomenal story that gives you a front row seat to a really fascinating woman.
I love stories about strong women and Forugh is most definitely a strong woman with a mind of her own. I loved how this story captured how when you want to write, you will do anything to be able to write. She is so driven to write her poetry that she forgoes a lot of the traditional trappings of what a woman is supposed to be in Iran in the 1950s and 1960s. She leaves a marriage. She leaves a child behind. She sets Tehran on fire with rumors of her long list of lovers. She writes what's on her heart for all to see! She was such a great character and I can't believe I had never heard of her before.
As many of you know, I'm trying to tackle books from every country this year. This is my pick for Iran and I was so happy to be able to find a fiction book set during a time in Iran's history that I didn't know much about. I feel like I've read a lot about the revolution and the time after so it was interesting to see just how quickly the country was changing, particularly through the eyes of Forugh. I loved all of the historical description. The description of the newspaper was particularly interesting!
The writing in this book was so good! I really enjoyed the first person point of view in the book. I loved being able to step into Forugh's shoes and see what she saw. This was a fantastic book!