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The Cypress Tree [Paperback]

Kamin Mohammadi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

2 Aug 2012

Kamin Mohammadi was nine years old when her family fled Iran during the 1979 Revolution. Bewildered by the seismic changes in her homeland, she turned her back on the past and spent her teenage years trying to fit in with British attitudes to family, food and freedom. She was twenty-seven before she returned to Iran, drawn inexorably back by memories of her grandmother's house in Abadan, with its traditional inner courtyard, its noisy gatherings and its very walls

steeped in history.

The Cypress Tree is Kamin's account of her journey home, to rediscover her Iranian self and to discover for the first time the story of her family: a sprawling clan that sprang from humble roots to bloom during the affluent, Biba-clad 1960s, only to be shaken by the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War and the heartbreak of exile, and toughened by the struggle for democracy that continues today.

This moving and passionate memoir is a love letter both to Kamin's extraordinary family and to

Iran itself, an ancient country which has survived so much modern tumult but where joy and resilience will always triumph over despair.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408822334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408822333
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A memoir to inspire (Aminatta Forna)

I cannot recommend this book highly enough (Nassim Assefi, author of Aria)

Fascinating insight on a topic much discussed but rarely understood from a human perspective. Recommended reading for anyone with an interest in the Middle East (Image Magazine)

Her descriptions are so incredibly lush you feel as much as read them - I could smell the cardamom in the chai, the camellias in the garden. Here is a portrait of a country completely at odds with the media's portrayals: the sensuous, intellectual and social Iran that Mohammadi left behind. It was a particular joy to read this memoir in the wake of the recent presidential election, for in the author's nostalgic depiction, one finds both a world that has passed away and one being born again. (Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go)

Book Description

The story of three generations of Iranian women - Kamin, her mother and her grandmother - which portrays the history of twentieth century Iran

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Iran before and after 24 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was fascinated by this book but at the same time I found it extremely difficult to keep up with the family names.I have visited Teheran several times also Istphan and Shiraz,mostly on business,but I loved the Country and with thre background of Mountains in Teheran it was a beautiful place.I know several Iranian people who now live in nEurope but still return to Iran on annual visits and who are still in contact with other Iranians who now live in USA.I always remember how courteous and easy people were to converse with.This comes out in the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 7 Jan 2013
By Patty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book. Individuals make up a country. Reading about Kamin's family put faces to the ordinary people of Iran.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read 30 Oct 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For people wanting to know about the true Iran and its people, you must read this book. In my opinion I feel this book could be made in to a film. It tells the story of a wonderful family that were separated by the events that took place following the revolution in Iran. Every time I look at a Cypress tree it reminds me of the Mohammadi family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is beautiful - painfully so. It follows an extended Iranian family through the modernisation of Iran under Reza Shah, then the Revolution on 1979, then a story of exile and return up until the present day. Whilst politics may have shaped the narrative, what you take away form this book are the people - their warmth, their laughter and their pain. You don't need to be versed in Middle Easter politics to read this book. If you enjoy books where you are transported into a whole world complete with grandparents, babies, endless aunts and uncles and their stories, then this is a book for you. The Cypress Tree is a delight to read but is also an important book in voicing the story of the generation of Iranians who have moved abroad due to the politics at home. I loved it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative 7 Oct 2011
By David M
Two things stand out most about this book - the wonderful hardback cover design and the powerful, evocative language used.

Kamin Mohammadi's description of family life in pre-revolutionary Iran is full of love and is heart-warming. It's intimate and I sometimes even felt as if I was a spectator in the room. Mixed with that are evocative descriptions of Iran, her landscapes, environment, people and food especially. It's great, although - depending on personal taste - it can become slightly overblown (one too many "fields of gold" cited for example!).

The revolution is the turning point, and going back to the intimacy of this book, the reader can feel the pity and powerlessness as a country is turned on its head and the family's previous harmony is broken. There's tragedy here - families displaced, the impact of war, but also redemption as new lives are started in the UK, and the family spreads to other countries and builds new links with Iran. I liked it a lot.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have longed for a book like this. 5 Oct 2011
As an Iranian-American novelist who was born and raised in the States, I have longed for a book that accurately portrays the Iran that I know, a complex country that is difficult to explain to Westerners. Too many English-language books about Iran make the country sound one-sided, focusing on the repressive nature of the Islamic government, feeding stereotypes about Iranians as hostage-taking, martyr-loving extremist out of touch with reality. Kamin Mohammadi's portrait of Iran is intricate and beautifully crafted, like the tiles of a 16th Century Isfahani mosque, and yet uncompromisingly honest like her charismatic grandmother during her last days. She covers seminal periods in Iran's modern history through the rich narratives of her large, effervescent family. Iran becomes a character in her book, beloved and appreciated like a close relative, but also driving her crazy at times and capable of causing anguish. The Cypress Tree is full of sensuous details--roses and spices, subtle glances and carefully planned costumes--and is rich in humor and heartbreak. Mohammadi's painful story of exile and uplifting reconciliation with her past will be familiar and healing to other immigrants and refugees. Modern day-Iran is isolated and maligned these days, but Kamin Mohammadi's sweeping perspective make us realize that, like the cypress tree "that has grown for thousands of years and weathered all the storms of Iran's changeable history, [Iranians] have learned to bend to the prevailing winds, but we are not broken." I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, heartwarming and heartwrenching 21 Jan 2013
By alexia
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written book, full of interesting tales of childhood and growing up in a culture and setting very different to my own.

Absolutely loved it, and would recommend to anyone!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful Bending Cypress Tree 11 Aug 2011
By Bibi
This book is deeply moving. Kamin generously shares with her readers the warm and kind family she grew up with, the experiences of life pre and post revolutionary Iran and beautifully explains the events in her own life intertwined with the web of history, politics and the changing moods inside and outside Iran. I don't know whether this book has touched me because I have experienced first hand the same set of events or because I am lucky enough to know the Mohammadi family. Either way, this is a poignant read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars unimpressive
I looked forward to reading this book at first, hoping it would give me a greater insight into the everyday lives of people in Iran today. Read more
Published 11 months ago by raincatsgalore
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating
Really enjoyed this book and was pleased to find that Persian/Iranian women are as proud,strong and independent minded as I always imagined they were. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Glynnis
3.0 out of 5 stars IRAN
A fascinating insight into a country we only know from media reports.A country I wish I had visited years ago and a people who sound so much fun.
Published 18 months ago by Sue K
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Rambling Story
One of the few books, i decided not to finish this year as it bored me to death
I was really excited to read this and learn about the Persian culture but alas the consistent... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Colm Maloney
1.0 out of 5 stars A self-indulgent autobiographical tale of growing up in Iran.
It is very unusual for me to dislike a book as much as I did The Cypress Tree. Kamin Mohammadi led an extraordinarily privileged life in Iran and I found it very difficult to find... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Clodia M
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Fascinating, interesting, informative and yes, very opinionated. Have recommended this to 2 friends with relatives who experienced the Iranian revolution to hear their point of... Read more
Published 20 months ago by cornbou
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book, and the news reports on Iran will never seem the same
Here in the West we are often presented with a black and white view of Iran--which this memoir goes a long, long way to correct. Read more
Published 21 months ago by luv2read1957
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love this book
I just love this book. Offered me a profound personal and moving insight into a Iran. An Iran you don't hear in the news, from someone who missed their childhood home and has since... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Rowland E Jobson
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible read
The title sounded very interesting, however it is written in the first person and rather boring, I tried and tried and in the end I was not able to finish it.
Published 22 months ago by Richard Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is a very interesting book about the culture of Iran through the last 3 decades and how life changed with different rulers/regimes. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Pauline, Bristol
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