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Children of the Jacaranda Tree
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 23 October 2013
Inspired by true experiences of friends and family this is Sahar Delijani's debut novel and this was our book club choice for August.

This book is obviously quite politically charged but doesn't concentrate so much on the why but how this revolution and regime was lived through by three generations. The alternating perspectives recount their experiences of a country at war with itself and the effects on not just the prisoners, but their spouses, parents and children.

The first few chapters are quite confusing with how many character's names there were, and sometimes the author would just start writing about someone but didn't specify a name and I'm there trying to figure out who it is. I actually felt like I needed a family tree as the pages flipped back and forth between time and people and it was quite easy to lose track. Although it's quite complex as you do read on you see that the later chapters are all somehow connected back to the first chapter when Azar gives birth in the prison cell.

At times, it is a difficult story to read as you appreciate the hardship, the fear and just the basic lack of human rights these prisoners suffered. And it also makes you realise the lack of rights women had and still have. I'm thinking of the scene where Leila is taking the children to have their photograph taken when she is approached by the soldiers about her appearance and she is discreetly trying to wipe off lipstick using her headscarf without them seeing.

Of all the characters and experiences it was Leila I felt most sorry for. She gave up the love of her life for her family and it seems that she she never got over that, never married or had children, just helped to raise others.

Overall my fellow book clubbers thought this was somewhat disjointed and at times read like a documentary! Read if you enjoyed books like The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
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on 30 October 2013
I had high hopes for this book based on some of the reviews I'd seen. It was certainly set in an interesting time and place, so I was looking forward to learning more about that. I did learn a little, and I did enjoy the first chapter of the book where we are introduced to a character giving birth in very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately I simply could not cope with the narrative jumping about between such a large number of characters. It prevented me from really getting to know or care about individuals in the story, despite the fact that it was well written. By the time we came to discuss this at book club I found I was not alone as most of the others reported similar difficulties and had to keep flicking through the book to check names.
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on 6 September 2013
Having lived in the Middle East I'm always interested in books based in that region whether or not I've been there.
Iran is usually not covered much so this was interesting & at times not easy to read but all in all I enjoyed it terms of learning something new & finding good things can & do happen contrary to what you might normally think. Partly at least a love story.
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on 5 February 2016
Excellent read will get more of this author
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on 5 November 2015
A beautiful book, well written that take you fully into the world of Iran. Each story is compelling and weaves threads to an understanding of what people had to live through.
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on 23 January 2016
This was a long time ago
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on 23 August 2013
The book was much of the same tone as his last and it really took me a while to get into it. I preserver end and glad I did as it was pleasant if you can say that about a book!
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on 21 August 2014
I loved this book and would recommend it. Beautifully written and it had a pace which kept my interest. I learnt a lot about this period in Iran in the 1980's.
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on 8 November 2015
The writer makes you feel like you are there and provides a rich back ground in to Iran'Iran's history in an intriguing way.
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on 27 June 2014
I chose to read this book after hearing it reviewed on radio 2 and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. I found this a really thought provoking and insightful read and would thoroughly recommend it,
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