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. Sahar makes her home in California. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel. Find out more at www.SaharDelijani.com/en.
CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE
Atria Books – June 18, 2013
A stunning debut novel set in post-Revolutionary Iran that gives voice to the men, women, and children who won a war only to find their lives–and those of their descendants—imperiled by its aftermath.
We all have a tree inside us. Finding it is just a matter of time. Neda is born in 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. Omid, at age three, 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.
Neda, Omid, and Sheida are just three of the many unforgettable characters in Sahar Delijani’s startling debut novel, Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran, from 1983 to 2011, it follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some connected by family, others brought together by the tide of history that forces its way into 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.
Based on the harrowing experiences of Delijani, her family, and friends, Children of the Jacaranda Tree is a moving, timely drama about three generations of men and women moved by love, inspired by poetry, and motivated by dreams of justice and freedom. For fans of The Kite Runner and In the Shadow of the Banyan, it is a stunningly evocative look at the intimate side of revolution and a brilliant tribute to anyone who has answered the call of history.
Praise for CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE
Indie Next List July 2013 Selection
“Set in post-revolutionary Iran, Delijani’s gripping novel is a blistering indictment of tyranny, a poignant tribute to those who bear the scars of it, and a celebration of the human’s heart’s eternal yearning for freedom.“—Khaled Hosseini, international bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini recommended Children of the Jacaranda Tree in his March 2013 newsletter alongside Thomas Mann, David Foster Wallace, and George Saunders.
“This deeply personal account of the rich, lustrous tapestry of life, family, love, and searing loss amid the Iranian revolution moved me to tears more than once. Like the characters of Children of the Jacaranda Tree, Delijani herself is a revolutionary: a fiercely brave, beautiful, and unflinching new voice.”—Abigail Tarttelin, author of Golden Boy
“A stunning debut.“—The Guardian (UK)
“Delijani is exceptionally talented as a writer, and the subject matter is both compelling and timely…. [A] searing and somber slice-of-life novel, centered around children whose parents were singled out for persecution by the Iranian government… [Delijani] scores a win with her grittiness and uncompromising realism.“—Kirkus Reviews
“It has everything it takes to be the literary revelation of the year. And not only in Italy.“—La Stampa (Italy)
“Children of the Jacaranda Tree is a beautifully rendered tale that reads almost like a collection of connected short stories, with characters’ perspectives and histories being unveiled as they intersect with one another. Throughout this thought-provoking account, a jacaranda tree stands as a stalwart witness to it all, providing comfort in its consistent presence.”—BookPage
“Heartbreakingly heroic.“—Publishers Weekly
“Filled with compelling characters and poetic language, this beautiful and poignant novel highlights the unbreakable bond between parent and child, and a people’s passionate dedication to their homeland, despite its many flaws.”—Booklist
“The way [Delijani] describes the tensions between young people in love is extraordinary.”—Associated Press