Just finished another book based in Tehran – Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji. Unlike the other 2 previous books that I read, this one is a fiction and closer to the genre of ‘The Kite Runner’.
First things first, I liked the book. I finished this 348 page book in 4 days. ‘Rooftops of Tehran’ is essentially a story woven around friends Pasha, Ahmed, Faheemeh, Zari and Doctor. It is a touching story of love, friendship, political turmoil, courage and sacrifice. The story is narrated through the voice of Pasha, whose name you don’t get to know for a very long time. Nevertheless, the story succeeds in touching an emotional chord with the readers. The emotions that the protagonists go through can be true for anybody of their age in any part of the world, while at the same time, the story also creates a rich and vivid kaleidoscope of Iranian culture.
The back cover rightfully describes it as ‘an unforgettable novel of young love and coming of age in a nation headed towards revolution’. Pasha spends several moments of love and longing on his rooftop, in the relatively conservative Iran. Although the summer afternoons spent together by Pasha, Zari, Ahmed and Faheemeh sound unrealistic in the conservative Tehran, where so much time spent between unrelated young boys and girls can only be frowned upon; but one can overlook such things in this richly woven story of young love, Pasha’s guilt of falling in love with Zari who happens to be engaged to Doctor - his friend and mentor, his longing for her and so on. There are some potions that try to add humour but seem a bit forced.
For me, this novel was about understanding the contemporary Iran during 70s. I personally know very little about the history and culture of this politically disturbed country. You cannot help but feel sorry for the young people who are not free to express themselves, the schools are controlled, the expressions are controlled, so that you do not fall out of line with the government. The people of Iran have seen and gone through unimaginable violence for people and their families who opposed government.
Read more about the book here.
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