I enjoyed this book a lot. I hope that some of you will decide to pick it up. We are having our 5 Minutes for Books Bookclub today (and my full review is posted over there), but I wanted to answer some of the discussion questions here:
- The story is told with some mysterious flashbacks. What affect did this have on you? Did it pique your curiosity? Confuse you? Intrigue you?
It did intrigue me. I think that these flashbacks pulled me along through the story, making me wonder exactly what had happened, and why, and to whom.
- A heavy theme of the novel is friendship. What friendships make an impact on you? Do they seem similar to our own contemporary American relationships, or different?
- I felt like this was generally an uplifting story, though set amidst some trying circumstances. Did you agree? If so, how did the author achieve this?
- Did reading this book give you a greater understanding of Iranian culture or politics? Did you read (or have you read) any of the suggested works that are listed in the back of the book? How do they compare and contrast with this portrayal of Iran? What does the fact that the author included a list of suggested readings, and the other personal information that he includes after the novel ends say about his purpose in writing it?
Obviously the circumstances were different -- being set within a totalitarian regime, but I was struck by the natural and normal feeling of the friendship of these young adolescents.
Hmmm--I'm hoping that another bookclub participant can analyze Mahbod Seraji's skill as an author in this area. I think that the humor of the two boys helped lighten the tone a lot, but other than that I'm not sure how it was accomplished.
Yes! I did read and watch The House of Sand and Fog (linked to my review) at his recommendation. I'm not sure that it enlightened me any more to the Iranian culture, but it was a reminder that life for immigrants is tough, and a big sacrifice is made for them to come here. They sacrifice their success and reputation in their home country to come here, where they are often belittled and can only get jobs that are menial in wages and responsibility. I love the author's personal revelations after the novel. He loves his country and wants us to understand and appreciate the people of the country aside from the politics.