Song of a captive bird : a novel

by Darznik, Jasmin, 1973-

Format: Print Book [2018]
Availability: Available at 14 Libraries 14 of 16 copies
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LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER * A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society's expectations to find her voice and her destiny

"A complex and beautiful rendering of [a] vanished country and its scattered people, a reminder of the power and purpose of art, and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out."-- The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian 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 . During the summer of 1950, Forugh's passion for poetry takes flight--and tradition seeks to clip her wings.

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 only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.

Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad's verse, letters, films, and interviews--and including original translations of her poems--this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran--and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.

Praise for Song of a Captive Bird

"If poetry is emotion rendered incendiary, then Forugh Farrokhzad was made of fire. . . . Song of a Captive Bird is an unsparing account of the necessity and consequences of speaking out." -- BookPage

"Sometimes, simply choosing whom to love is a political act." -- Vogue

"Forugh Farrokhzad's short life brimmed with controversy and rebellion . . . .This feminist icon inspired Darznik's imaginative debut."-- Ms.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* In her memoir, The Good Daughter (2011), Darznik reveals her mother's long-hidden life in Iran, where she was married at 13, then forced to give up her firstborn to escape her brutally abusive husband. In Darznik's biographical first novel, her protagonist, based on the feminist Iranian poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-67), also loses her child in a battle for freedom. Young Forugh is a mischievous booklover and a budding poet often in trouble with her strict, unhappy mother and menacing father, a prominent colonel. Taken out of school after ninth grade and longing for a literary life, she becomes infatuated with an older cousin, a published writer. Scandal is narrowly averted by a hasty departure from Tehran and a quickly executed wedding. But Forugh will not be silenced by her smothering marriage; isolation in a dusty, gossipy town; or even love for her son. In dangerously candid poems, she asserts that a woman is a human being . . . that we, too, have a right to breathe, to cry out, and to sing. Eventually she slips back to Tehran, enters into a risky affair with an editor, and attains notoriety that costs her her son and, for a time, her sanity and independence. Darznik's knowledgeably invented characters and compellingly imagined scenarios, both of which are sensuous and harrowing, are deftly set within Iran's violent, oil-fueled, mid-twentieth-century political and social upheavals, and stay true to the essence of Farrokhzad's audacious, dramatic, and creative life and courageous commitment to writing revolutionary poems about being female in a tyrannically sexist society. Darznik even includes her own stunning translations of Farrokhzad's incandescent poetry. Farrokzhad is known as the Sylvia Plath of Iran, and the two poets were contemporaries, living lives at once starkly different and remarkably attuned, then dying young and tragically. Plath's renown is universal; Darznik's enthralling and illuminating novel will introduce Farrokhzad to a whole new world of readers.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this sumptuous debut novel, Darznik (The Good Daughter, a memoir) retells the fleeting life of a real-life Iranian feminist, poet, and director. In this imagining-told with the vulnerability and confidence of a memoir-Forugh Farrokhzad grows up in a Tehran where women and girls see little of the world beyond their own garden walls, but the glimpses are formative. Poetry is the thread that weaves through Forugh's journey: the familial and romantic relationships that uplift and crush her; the darkest hours of isolation where she is made to forget her own work; the possibilities and promise, always just out of her reach. Excerpts of her verses, translated by Darznik, light the path from Forugh's tragic first love to the birth of her son, a passionate affair, her first publication, and her determination to remain independent in a world so focused on control. Forugh's crucibles are not so dissimilar from those of her country, balancing a rich history and faith with a desire to secure a place in modern spheres of influence. As Forugh finds her stride, so does Darznik's telling; the direct but descriptive voice soars as its subject makes a life for herself. Darznik's marvelous homage to Forugh captures the frustration and determination she must have felt to overcome the strictures of her environment, beautifully recreating her difficult path to fame. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Farrukhzād, Furūgh -- Fiction.
Women poets -- Fiction.
Women -- Iran -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :[2018]
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 401 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 9780399182310
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