29 July 2013

Children Of The Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani, Book review

Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1476709093


Sold in 70 countries around the world, translated into 25 languages, hailed by Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner, who calls it "a celebration of the human heart’s eternal yearning for freedom." This is Children of the Jacaranda Tree.

Neda is born in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. 
More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death, but the anguish and the horror of murder.

These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country’s tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom. Written in Sahar Delijani’s spellbinding prose, capturing the intimate side of revolution in a country where the weight of history is all around, it is a moving tribute to anyone who has ever answered its call.

Here are my thoughts:

A mosaic of idealist Iranis facing decades of turbulent political changes, 'Children of the Jacaranda Tree' reminds us how precious freedom is and how little we acknowledge its absence outside of our borders!
This is Sahar Delijani's writing debut and well worth reading!

Hard view critics might debate about its veracity or fault the extent to which she portrays Evin's prison ominous rules. However the malevolent shadows haunting its survivors and their children, viewed through her own parents' prison accounts and the years following their release was her inspiration . Sahar Delijani herself was born in Evin in 1983.

This is not therefore the latest recount of misguided post revolution tenets but as highlighted, the results of the abusive cycle behind the facade. Once reknown as a beautiful country with endless ideals Iran survived a wretched war with its neighbour only to be trampled by terror under a system designed to control its citizens.
In 'Children of the Jacaranda Tree' Ms. Delijani chose to underline the repercussions this system ultimately has on three generations by telling us the fictional stories of Neda, Omid and Sheida.

Beginning in 1983 with Teheran's infamous prison, the novel unfolds, one layer at a time until its closure in another country in 2011. Bittersweet sadness encompasses love and hope, yet obviously remains shadowed by this rigid and unforgiving system.
Fragments of young lives now extinguished like burnt out candles, often hidden in mass graves, fears and hopes of  survivors for their children and the extent to which these children still suffers are all part of the many tableaux Ms.Delijani brings us in her story. 

Each character brings a little measure of hope for the future as the story unfolds. Some chose to leave their beloved country, some return and some chose to remain behind. They are all Children Of The Jacaranda Tree...

A deeply moving reminder of Evin's helpless prisoners and the families who stand vigil outside its walls waiting for a word about their incarcerated loved ones, this is a novel you will not want to miss! 
There is poetic justice behind this poignant story, actually palpable in its denouement, reminding us that everything comes full circle and as long as there is life, there is hope!

Recommended for mature readers.
4 stars!

Note to Readers: Further information about Iran's present situation can be obtained at Amnesty International (HERE).

Amnesty International's logo made up 26,105 burning candles on 5 June 2008.
Source (HERE)

About the Author:

Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran's Evin Prison in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been published in a broad spectrum of literary journals and publications, including The Battered Suitcase, Tryst, Slice Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, Perigee, Border Hopping, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Sangam Review. 
She was nominated for the 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize and was for a time a regular contributor to Iran-Emrooz (Iran of Today) Political and Cultural Journal. She makes her home with her husband in Turin, Italy. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel.
Visit her website (HERE)

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise reviews are NOT requested and reflects ONLY my opinion.


  1. I'm not sure I would like to read it maybe too sad.

  2. There is no doubt Merle this is not for everyone but the remarkable aspect of Delijani's writing is that it reflected hope above all. Then again, we need to be reminded now and again how precious freedom is...

  3. I read about this one just yesterday in someone's Mailbox and was so intrigued by the story. Not just a story but writing a personal experience as well must make it very, very good.


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