Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri

Title: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
Author: Dina Nayeri
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Riverhead
Publish Date: January 31, 2013
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Growing up in a small rice-farming village in 1980s Iran, eleven-year-old Saba Hafezi and her twin sister, Mahtab, are captivated by America. They keep lists of English words and collect illegal Life magazines, television shows, and rock music. So when her mother and sister disappear, leaving Saba and her father alone in Iran, Saba is certain that they have moved to America without her. But her parents have taught her that “all fate is written in the blood,” and that twins will live the same life, even if separated by land and sea. As she grows up in the warmth and community of her local village, falls in and out of love, and struggles with the limited possibilities in post-revolutionary Iran, Saba envisions that there is another way for her story to unfold. Somewhere, it must be that her sister is living the Western version of this life. And where Saba’s world has all the grit and brutality of real life under the new Islamic regime, her sister’s experience gives her a freedom and control that Saba can only dream of."

My Two Cents:

Oh this book was really, really good! If you want a book where you only get little bits and pieces along the way until everything comes together in an absolutely fantastic mind-blowing ending, this is the book for you! This is a family story with a dose of family secrets and even a little bit of something verging on magical realism. Saba and Mahtab are sisters, twin sisters. They are utterly and inextricably connected to each other. When Mahtab and their mother leave Iran for America, Saba is left to imagine what their life may or may not be.

The characters in this book are stunning and are ones that I am going to be thinking about for a long time. The chapters are narrated by various characters, which I really liked. Sometimes having a lot of narrators doesn't work for me because I get confused but here the characters are so unique that I had no trouble and really enjoyed seeing things from different angles. The main character of this book, Saba, is so wonderful.I loved Saba. She is a dreamer. She and her sister talk about going to America all the time and are encouraged by their mother who is a little bit of a rebel herself. She wants to think the best of people and the best of her situation even when everything points to the contrary. I absolutely loved following her character as she unravels the mystery of her sister and her mother. I love sister stories but this story has something special with a story of twin sisters. It is so heartbreaking thinking about siblings being separated and the author makes you really feel that pain in this book.

I also really loved the setting of this book. The book takes place in a very turbulent time during Iran's history mostly in the 1980s but stretching beyond that. The author does a really, really good job of making you feel what it must have been like to be both in the big city and small towns of Iran during that time. I loved all of the detail.

The writing in this book was so good. As I mentioned previously, there are a lot of big secrets in this book and I thought the author did a really good job of giving you just enough information to make me want to just read a few more pages to see what was happening. Needless to say, I finished this book rather quickly as I kept wanting to put all of the pieces together! Definitely a good read!



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