Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Rooftops of Tehran

on October 6, 2009

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

rooftopsoftehranNormally my book link takes you to Amazon.com, but this time, clicking on the title of the book will take you to the bookclub page for this book at 5 Minutes for Books. This was the selection for this past month (or is it this month? I can’t figure it out since the posts come so early in the month).

OH RIGHT, BACK TO THE REVIEW/DISCUSSION.

I enjoyed this book. It is set in 1970s Iran, which is a new book destination for me. I’ve never really read books set in the middle east, fiction or otherwise. It definitely made me want to read more about it (and isn’t that what a good book does?), although I haven’t. I wouldn’t say this has become a favorite, but I liked it.

Now, on to answer the questions posed by Jennifer:

  1. The story is told with some mysterious flashbacks. What affect did this have on you? Did it pique your curiosity? Confuse you? Intrigue you?
    I liked the flashbacks. They didn’t really confuse me because of how they were laid out. I was more curious than annoyed or confused.
  2. A heavy theme of the novel is friendship. What friendships make an impact on you? Do they seem similar to our own contemporary American relationships, or different?
    The friendships in the book seemed similar to American friendships – it was the courting/dating/romantic relationships that took a different tone than the American counterpart. The loyalty between the friends was fierce, and I liked that.
  3. I felt like this was generally an uplifting story, though set amidst some trying circumstances. Did you agree? If so, how did the author achieve this?
    I agree, Jen. I think the author achieved this by focusing more on the relationships than the circumstances. It isn’t a history book. It’s a story of friends who happen to be in a rough political/social climate. Their lives don’t revolve around everything going on, but it of course affects them. I feel that this is how I would want a story about me to be – don’t make the focus what is going on in the world around me, but show how my world is affected by that.
  4. How do characters in the book perceive the United States? How did the way that they see the U.S. change the way you see it?
    Some perceive it as the promised land, some just see it as a land to run away to.
  5. Did reading this book give you a greater understanding of Iranian culture or politics? Did you read (or have you read) any of the suggested works that are listed in the back of the book? How do they compare and contrast with this portrayal of Iran? What does the fact that the author included a list of suggested readings, and the other personal information that he includes after the novel ends say about his purpose in writing it?
    Considering I knew nothing of Iranian culture or politics before reading this, yes 😛 I have not read the suggested works, and I’m not sure I will. I was curious about the culture, but maybe not enough to do extra reading specifically for that purpose. I think the fact that the author included that shows he wanted to raise awareness about Iranian culture and politics. He wanted the book to be a “gateway” for people to start being interested in the country.

A quick “heads up.” There is profanity in this book. And an uncomfortable chapter (that really has no bearing on the plot – if you want to read this book and skip the chapter, let me know and I’ll go find it.) This doesn’t bother everybody, but I wanted to let you know.

If you want to read more reviews, hop on over to 5minutesforbooks.com and read the bookclub posts.

next up: any book by Louisa May Alcott (I’m going with Little Men)

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5 responses to “Rooftops of Tehran

  1. Christina says:

    If you’re interested in reading more about Louisa May Alcott, you should check out “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” by Harriet Reisen, out on Oct. 28th. You can also pre-order it on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Louisa-May-Alcott-Behind-Little/dp/0805082999/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254849579&sr=8-1). Great read 🙂

  2. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book! Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Great post. Even though I posted about the political and social issues in this book, I really, feel like the relationships were the heart of the story, and you described that very well.

  4. Sorry for the random comma!

  5. hopeistheword says:

    Good point about the focus being on the relationships instead of the political/social climate!

    Good review. Thanks for sharing!

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