Song of a Captive Bird
A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing poet Forugh Farrokhzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice and her destiny“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh FarrokhzadAll through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. It’s during the summer of 1950 that Forugh’s passion for poetry really takes flight—and that tradition seeks to clip her wings.Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing grows only stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—Jasmin Darznik has written a haunting novel, using the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.

Song of a Captive Bird Details

TitleSong of a Captive Bird
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherBallantine Books
ISBN-139780399182310
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Cultural, Iran, Poetry, Adult

Song of a Captive Bird Review

  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars.Forugh Farrokhzad, known simply as Forugh, died in Iran 50 years ago aged 32. Her poetry was banned in Iran in 1979 and her grave is a place of pilgrimage still. At great personal cost, she broke down many barriers to pursue her art - cultural, social and structural. I had never heard of her and was attracted to the book mainly because I enjoy Middle Eastern writing. I don’t think I even realised that it was about a real person.Jasmin Darznik inhabits Forugh’s life so convincingly that 4.5 stars.Forugh Farrokhzad, known simply as Forugh, died in Iran 50 years ago aged 32. Her poetry was banned in Iran in 1979 and her grave is a place of pilgrimage still. At great personal cost, she broke down many barriers to pursue her art - cultural, social and structural. I had never heard of her and was attracted to the book mainly because I enjoy Middle Eastern writing. I don’t think I even realised that it was about a real person.Jasmin Darznik inhabits Forugh’s life so convincingly that I often had to remind myself that I wasn’t reading an autobiography. By her own admission, she had to invent a great deal because, it is believed, Forugh’s family destroyed most of her personal papers after her death. Although she left Iran when she was 5, the author obviously has access to family and friends who can tell her what life was like during Forugh’s lifetime, ie 1935-1967. During this period, there was a lot of political turmoil in Iran and Forugh was often caught up in it. Her lifestyle was abhorrent to traditional Iranians and it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that she met likeminded people and saw a different side to life than the one in which she’d been trapped. A life that had more possibilities than restrictions. She was immensely brave, if sometimes naive, to make the decisions that she did and to risk so much. Forugh was also a talented documentary maker. I watched some of her film about a colony of lepers, The House is Black, on YouTube and found it very moving. The author has interspersed the text with poems that she herself has translated. On occasions her choice was perfect. Forugh’s poetry is based on her life. I’ll finish with a particularly poignant poem on the loss of her son.This is the last lullaby I’ll singat the foot of your cradle.May my anguished criesecho in the sky of your youth....I’ve cast away from the shore of good nameand a stormy star flares in my heart.....A day will come when your eyes will smart at this painful song.You’ll search for me in wordsand tell yourself: my mother,that’s who she was.From “A Poem for You” (dedicated to my son, Kamyar, with hopes for the future)If you read this book, you’ll understand the poignancy of this poem. A solid 4.5 stars from me.With thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine for a free review copy.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIn Song of a Captive Bird (a beautiful and perfect title), author Jasmin Darznik is the voice for Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. Forugh - an influential poet of the 20th century - was notorious for rebelling against cultural norms, especially in her work.Forugh's accomplishments come at the expense of her reputation and family life. In her thirty-two years she has been through so much pain; all she wanted was to be loved for who she was. Darznik captures that and uses her own words to 3.5 starsIn Song of a Captive Bird (a beautiful and perfect title), author Jasmin Darznik is the voice for Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. Forugh - an influential poet of the 20th century - was notorious for rebelling against cultural norms, especially in her work.Forugh's accomplishments come at the expense of her reputation and family life. In her thirty-two years she has been through so much pain; all she wanted was to be loved for who she was. Darznik captures that and uses her own words to bring that love to Forugh. For more of my review visit: https://saturdaynitereader.com/2018/0...The book is inspired by Forugh's story and a work of fiction. But, it was written in first person which was interesting to me: I often felt as if I was reading a memoir and had to remind myself that certain story lines and characters may not have been true. It took me a bit longer than my regular reading pace as I had a bit of a slow start, but I wanted to know more of Forugh's story and kept going: I felt like I owed it to her to keep reading on.“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh Farrokhzad
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  • Colleen
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsARC provided by Ballatine Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This review contains minor spoilers concerning differences between known facts and fiction.Song of a Captive Bird caught my eye on Netgalley. I normally avoid fictionalized accounts of real people. It's a personal hangup, but it makes me uncomfortable when authors make such big presumptions about real people for the sake of fiction. But Song of a Captive Bird covers a time and place often overlooked by books, s 4 StarsARC provided by Ballatine Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This review contains minor spoilers concerning differences between known facts and fiction.Song of a Captive Bird caught my eye on Netgalley. I normally avoid fictionalized accounts of real people. It's a personal hangup, but it makes me uncomfortable when authors make such big presumptions about real people for the sake of fiction. But Song of a Captive Bird covers a time and place often overlooked by books, so I was intrigued. It covers the life of Forugh Farrokhzhad, a famous Iranian poet. I had heard of Forugh but knew nothing about her. "It was a house that turned from the world and cast its gaze inward, a house whose women believed the very walls listened for sin, a house where we whispered the truth or didn't speak it at all." Having read it, I still have mixed feelings. I was surprised to find that the book was written in first person from Forugh's perspective. Again, this is a personal hangup, but it strikes as considerably presumptuous to take such liberties as to imagine the innermost thoughts and emotions of a real person. This probably will not bother most readers though. And to be fair, the author seemed to be 100% motivated by admiration and desire to bring her idol to life. But I have to emphasize to all potential readers that this is FICTION. Indeed, I had to remind myself to think of it only as fiction or I got caught up wondering what Forugh would think of this book.Once I got past that, however, I did mostly enough the novel. Many parts of it were vivid, emotional, and poignant. It is not a book for the faint of heart since it does not sugar coat either Forugh's personal tragedies or the turmoil of her time period. I can't say that I always like Forugh's character but I was still drawn to her story. Some parts were hauntingly emotional and then other parts I felt completely disconnected from. The middle was definitely where my interest wandered a bit. But the book does have a strong, emotional ending. I also liked that translations of some of Forugh's real poems were included. "The sun was deadThe sun was dead and 'tomorrow'was an odd, antiquated wordchildren no longer understood.They drew it back as a black blot in their notebooksMy people, a fallen peopledead-of-head, dazed, lonely,wandered from exile to exiledragging the burden of theirown corpsesand the murderous thirst oftheir hands.-from 'Earthly Verses'" The main thing that kept pulling me out of the story was the heavy-handed foreshadowing that turned into outright spoilers. Darznik often bluntly told exactly what would happen then slowly circled around to how it happened and everything that led to those events. I yearned for a more linear flow that did not jump around so much. It was written with Westerners in mind with definitions of words and terms, explanation of cultural customs, and historical background. There was good historical background without being too much of an infodump.Once I started reading Song of a Captive Bird, I avoided looking anything up about the real Forugh Farrokhzhad because I did not want to constantly compare fiction with history. When I read the author's note at the end followed by some quick research, I was disappointed to find out some of the things that were made up. (view spoiler)[The biggest disappointment was that the character of Leila Farmayan was only loosely based on a friend of Forugh's, and Leila's entire storyline in the book was made up. Although I can see why Darznik added that storyline, I was still disappointed to find out one of the most emotional parts of the story was entirely fictional. Without Leila, much of the story's plot becomes a quickly tumbling house of cards. Even knowing the story was largely guesswork, it still made me question what facts there were in the story. Since there is so little information about Forugh, it is hard to know. I was also puzzled as to why the author changed Ebrahim Golestan's name to Darius Golshiri when they were blatantly the same person. Perhaps because Ebrahim Golestan is still alive? The author also left out some big events in Forugh's life such as her time in Europe and her adoptive son. Darznik claimed this was due to insufficient documentation, but was there really any less than the other things she did include? Or the fictional characters and plot lines that she added in? I have not read her source material so I can't say for sure. (hide spoiler)]Overall Song of a Captive Bird was a vivid, emotional read despite a few rough bits. I have to emphasize again that this is fiction although hopefully it will inspire people to learn more about both Forugh Farrokhzhad and Iranian culture and history. "Because I was a woman, they wanted to silence the screams on my ligs and stifle the breath in my lungs. But I couldn't stay quiet. I couldn't speak with the voice of a man, because it was not my voice - not true and not my own. But there was more to it than that. By writing in a woman's voice I wanted to say that a woman, too, is a human being. To say that we, too, have the right to breathe, to cry out, and too sing." RATING FACTORS:Ease of Reading: 4 StarsWriting Style: 4 StarsCharacters and Character Development: 3 StarsPlot Structure and Development: 3 StarsLevel of Captivation: 4 StarsOriginality: 3 Stars
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  • Jill Dobbe
    January 1, 1970
    An incredibly thoughtful, artistic, and well-documented book about the life of the famed Iranian poet, Farugh Farrokzad, by an Iranian-American author who still has roots in Iran. Farugh's poems live on today despite their banishment in Iran, and Farugh's notorious reputation. I could not put this book down from the minute I began reading it. I was enthralled with the story (some fiction, some non-fiction) and the author's honest writing, which gave a truly modern picture of Farugh's carefree, b An incredibly thoughtful, artistic, and well-documented book about the life of the famed Iranian poet, Farugh Farrokzad, by an Iranian-American author who still has roots in Iran. Farugh's poems live on today despite their banishment in Iran, and Farugh's notorious reputation. I could not put this book down from the minute I began reading it. I was enthralled with the story (some fiction, some non-fiction) and the author's honest writing, which gave a truly modern picture of Farugh's carefree, but troubled life. Throughout the book, the volatile history, as well as the beauty and modernity, were described in rich detail giving the reader a true taste of Iran and its people.A beautifully written account of a very creative woman who made her way on her own terms, despite living in a closed society where women had very few rights. I believe that Farugh should have been born during a much different era. Thank you to NetGalley.
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  • sylvie
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to thank Jasmin Darznik for her honest description of an Iran we do not often hear about, the Shah's modern Iran. It's restrictions, brutality.Forough Farrokhsad grew up in the Shah's Iran. One can only imagine the courage it took Forough to follow her calling, writing poems, poems that read like a story. Her courage to express herself as a woman, feelings we women experience along our lives.To understand her determination not to be silenced, one has to understand "modern" Iran. Women w I'd like to thank Jasmin Darznik for her honest description of an Iran we do not often hear about, the Shah's modern Iran. It's restrictions, brutality.Forough Farrokhsad grew up in the Shah's Iran. One can only imagine the courage it took Forough to follow her calling, writing poems, poems that read like a story. Her courage to express herself as a woman, feelings we women experience along our lives.To understand her determination not to be silenced, one has to understand "modern" Iran. Women were expected to stay at home, silent. To express an opinion was not tolerated, and punished.This is a book which needs to be read widely, by women and men.Even today many of my Iranian friends deny the Shah's regime's brutality, yet thousands left Iran. This speaks volumes on the Shah's regime.Forough pushed herself through all the barriers never holding back her truth...she passed away at 32 killed in a car accident.I will add pictures, poems by Farough an book titles to her poems which are sold today around the world when this book is published.This beautiful book will be sold at book stores February 13, 2018P.S.Although the Shah's regime was brutal, the revolution against the Shah in 1979 ushered in an even harsher regime run by Islam.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a galley from Netgalley. Heartbreaking look into the life of poet Forough Farrokzad and life for her as an Iranian woman in the 50's and 60's. Good Read!
  • Guy Austin
    January 1, 1970
    I recall in 1979 the first time I had heard of the country called Iran. From that first day I heard the words spoken, it would be many consecutive days that I would hear phrases that shaped my small understanding – The Hostage Crisis, The Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. There were images that crossed the television screen – Young male college age students, blind folded Americans, large crowds gathered around the American Embassy. This was the Iran I knew of. This was my view of the country. I I recall in 1979 the first time I had heard of the country called Iran. From that first day I heard the words spoken, it would be many consecutive days that I would hear phrases that shaped my small understanding – The Hostage Crisis, The Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. There were images that crossed the television screen – Young male college age students, blind folded Americans, large crowds gathered around the American Embassy. This was the Iran I knew of. This was my view of the country. I was young, Middle School aged, so my interaction was left to that of a typical pre-teen.So, when I first views this novel, “Song of a Captive Bird“, and I read about its author, Jasmin Darzink, I recalled the well received memoir she had written, “The Good Daughter: A Memoir of my Mothers Hidden Life”. I also learned from here essay’s that she was one of many, as a young girl, that fled Iran just before the Revolution. She told of her families journey, her recall as a immigrant and her memory of her parents melancholy regarding a want for an eventual return to Iran. She became in wonder of the few things her mother was able to bring with her, one was a slim book of poems by Farugh Farrokhzad. These poems, that book she first looked at as a young girl, would lead to eventual writing this novel.This story of the trail blazing poet, Farugh, a defining influence of her generation, was not a subject I would readily search out. I am not much of a for poetry. However, the title and the cover of the book spoke to me. Then, as I was reading, within the beginning of a few chapters were pieces of poems that grabbed my attention. These poems were different, they were focused and expressive. They were approachable. They were not pretentious. These little pieces had me stop and look for more of Farugh’s poetry:"I’ll greet the sun again.I’ll greet the stream that flowed within me,The clouds that were my tallest thoughts,the aspens in the gardenthat endured seasons of drought with me,the flock of crowsthat brought me the scent of the fields at night,my mother who lived in the mirror andreflected the face of my old age,The burning wombmy lust has filled the green seeds.I’ll greet them all again.– from “I Will Greet the Sun Again”This world author Jasmin Darzinka has colored in for me is now much more vivid and real. This wonderful Historical Fiction, set in the 1940’s through 1968, held me fixed on every word. Every heart stopping action that occurred. Farugh’s life, hard with sharp jagged edges, dark as a moonless night and as colorful as the novel’s cover expresses a woman who would become a voice of a country. She gave voice to women for the first time, feelings they felt, but never before manifested in word or print. Farugh enters the world bound by physical walls. Walls build to keep her restrained within the customs of her country. She, as a woman is expected to be silent and submissive. Hidden. She is born to a Father, a high-ranking colonel in the Shaw’s Army, who rules his family absolutely. By a mother who had known no other life than that of the submissive wife and mother. in the background is the ever present social and political unrest of the country. Farugh rails against theses expectations placed on her, and suffers for it. After only attaining education to the age of thirteen or Fourteen, she will become a sensation at the age of nineteen with the publication of her first poem, “Sin”.With the publication of “Sin” she becomes, at once, both famous and infamous. Labeled. Yet, she would not be silenced. She would live a life not before witnessed in Tehran or the whole of Iran. She would create. Five books of poetry, documentaries. She would carve out a place for herself in the larger world. As with so many young and talented artist’s she will leave this earth too soon. Before she does she leaves us a legacy of works that we all will be able to enjoy and appreciate for the ages.I love when I fall backwards into a great book. The kind that opens your eyes to a new world view. One you had no foundation in and out of it you come away with a new appreciation of that world or of the people in it. Jasmin Darzink delivered just that type of experience with her new novel “Song of a Captive Bird.” I thank her for this. And I thank her for sharing Farugh Farrokhzad with me.Available now for Pre-order or on Store shelves – February 13th 2018I* would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, NetGalley and Jasmin Darzink for the opportunity to read this advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Diane Perry
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Forugh Farrokzhad was a trailblazer way ahead of her time. She was a controversial poet in the sixties. She was defying all the rules in Iran. For that she paid a heavy price. This book sucked me in on the first sentence and I actually read it in a day. Powerful and relatable for today. Excellent writing!
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  • Jennifer Lara
    January 1, 1970
    Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Dapzink is a story inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad. Born in 1935 to her father, a man she only knew as the Colonel and his wife, Turan, Forugh was a child who found pleasure in breaking the rules and even greater pleasure in the storytelling afterward. In the summer of 1950, she met her cousin and future husband, Parviz Shapour. He was a satirist who encouraged her to write poetry. They were married in 1951 when she was 16 and her only son wo Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Dapzink is a story inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad. Born in 1935 to her father, a man she only knew as the Colonel and his wife, Turan, Forugh was a child who found pleasure in breaking the rules and even greater pleasure in the storytelling afterward. In the summer of 1950, she met her cousin and future husband, Parviz Shapour. He was a satirist who encouraged her to write poetry. They were married in 1951 when she was 16 and her only son would be born two years later. However, she felt trapped by the bonds of marriage and motherhood, she began to travel to Tehran seeking to publish her poetry. Once her poems were published and gained attention, she finds her life at a crossroad. Parviz grants her a divorce and she loses custody of her son, she tries to rebuild her life and gain her voice as a feminist and a poet at a time when Iran was in turmoil. Song of a Captive Bird is an interesting story of a woman ahead of her time. I wasn’t familiar with her or her poetry but as a lover of poetry I was intrigued. Her life was filled with horrors and heartache. First at the mercy of her father, then her husband (who didn’t treat who horribly but expected her to conform), and then at society who wasn’t prepared for her voice. Ms. Dapzink describes Forugh’s life with such details that I cringed and cried at her pain and at her frustration. Sadly, Forugh was killed in a car accident on February 14, 1967. Her poems would be banned and censored by the government but her poems still found their way into the hands of the people and have been read for decades after her death. I enjoyed how Ms. Dapzink used Forugh’s poems throughout the story so the reader can understand the situation which inspired her work. I highly recommend Song of a Captive Bird. Song of a Captive Birdwill be available on February 13, 2018In hardcover and eBook“Why should I stop, why? the birds have gone in search of the blue direction. the horizon is vertical, vertical and movement fountain-like; and at the limits of vision shining planets spin. the earth in elevation reaches repetition, and air wells changes into tunnels of connection; and day is a vastness, which does not fit into narrow mind of newspaper worms.”-verse taken from “It is Only Sound that Remains”
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  • Nicole Harmon
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review of Song of a Captive BirdAuthor: Jasmin DarznikPublisher: Ballantine BooksPublish Date: February 2018Book Blurb: “Besooz a bezaaz! Went the time-worn injunction to brides. Burn inwardly and accommodate.”I am a fan of history. Not just of history, I like but of history, I don’t like. My issue is I remember mostly what I like. But be that as it may, I have to say not knowing much of Iranian history I loved this novel. This is a story of the poetess Forugh Farrokhzad. It, in fact, is a Book Review of Song of a Captive BirdAuthor: Jasmin DarznikPublisher: Ballantine BooksPublish Date: February 2018Book Blurb: “Besooz a bezaaz! Went the time-worn injunction to brides. Burn inwardly and accommodate.”I am a fan of history. Not just of history, I like but of history, I don’t like. My issue is I remember mostly what I like. But be that as it may, I have to say not knowing much of Iranian history I loved this novel. This is a story of the poetess Forugh Farrokhzad. It, in fact, is a literary undertaking of her life from birth to death and what transpired in between. The best words to describe this novel are in the epilogue. I won’t repeat them for you because I want you to read this book and after you read it I believe you will like it. A quick summary of this novel is that Forugh Farrokhzad as most women in her time were raised to be good Muslim women who obeyed their families and didn’t dishonor them. Her earliest memory that I remember from the book is a visit to a doctor that verified her virginity and thus taking her virginity. This caused her to explain to her husband why on her wedding night it was like she didn’t have her virginity. But the reason for her visit seems to be one that plagues her throughout her life. She met a man in secret to discuss poetry and the like. Throughout her life, she seems to meet men in secret and then in public both for her public and private life. Two of the men following her husband helped shape her career and her love life. The first one Nasser Khodayar who encouraged her to publish her first poem despite it being about her love life and her personal bedroom activities with Nasser Khodayar taught her about betrayal and lust. He taught her what to look out for it seems. The next Darius Golshiri became her mentor and her lover. He got her into film and became her long-term unmarried relationship despite his being married to another woman the whole time. She even met the woman one day. Despite feeling that she was an idiot they still maintained the relationship. Upon her death, he was the one who buried her with his family in his own plot. The author wrote that if she had anything to say about it Forugh Farrokhzad would have wondered how he managed to get her body as only her father could get it. She no longer talked to her husband as they had divorced. She feels he must have pulled some strings. Of note, she as was most people considered dissidents and troublemakers in foreign countries imprisoned for her voice and depiction of the current regime or people in power. But she still filmed what she did to express her own opinion much as she wrote. In her career, she published five novels of poems and several films. History would depict her as the divorcee who scandalously dared society to accept her as she was a woman who was also a human being with a brain and a desire to express her most personal self in ways that woman of that time had not yet done so that often. I think that as most women she opened up doors for those who came after. In the Epilogue, the author herself explains why she felt the need to write this novel about this woman whom history has written about but yet leaves some huge gaps in its history about her. I highly recommend you read this novel and also purchase if possible her poetry book. Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation for writing this novel just an uncorrected proof prior to publication.
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  • Maggie Holmes
    January 1, 1970
    Song of a Captive Bird brings alive Forugh Farrokhzad, an Iranian poet and director, of amazing strength, genius, and humanity. Through the words of her verse, Forugh had shown her people the plight of women as second class citizens in Iran and shown the depth of their passion and understanding. Darznik uses fiction to tell Forugh’s story of love, divorce, motherhood, ambition, betrayal and fierce longing for freedom to be herself. This story reaches beyond just Iran, beyond Muslim culture, to t Song of a Captive Bird brings alive Forugh Farrokhzad, an Iranian poet and director, of amazing strength, genius, and humanity. Through the words of her verse, Forugh had shown her people the plight of women as second class citizens in Iran and shown the depth of their passion and understanding. Darznik uses fiction to tell Forugh’s story of love, divorce, motherhood, ambition, betrayal and fierce longing for freedom to be herself. This story reaches beyond just Iran, beyond Muslim culture, to tell the truth of all women. Thank you, Jasmin Darznik, for bringing Forugh to a larger American audience. This book will make for an incredible book discussion.Thank you to Ballantine Books for the advance copy.
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  • Zoe Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Reading Song of a Captive Bird launched me into a world I knew nothing about, and beautifully educated me about it. One of my favorite lines is when Forugh defines art as something that connects people. It connects one human experience to another, and this is exactly what Jasmin Darznik did with her book. Through this book I understand so many things better, poetry, the literary process and what life was like as an Iranian women. Forugh redefined what it was to become a modern women, and what st Reading Song of a Captive Bird launched me into a world I knew nothing about, and beautifully educated me about it. One of my favorite lines is when Forugh defines art as something that connects people. It connects one human experience to another, and this is exactly what Jasmin Darznik did with her book. Through this book I understand so many things better, poetry, the literary process and what life was like as an Iranian women. Forugh redefined what it was to become a modern women, and what struck me most was that she did not set out to be revolutionary, she only set out to be herself and through the process of being herself she became revolutionary. Reading from Forugh's perspective and seeing the injustices against her come to life and emphasizes her impact. I have learned more from this book than I have from any book this whole year. By learning I mean not just strictly dates and history, but about culture, revolution and art. I cannot believe that I had never heard of Forugh Farrokhzhad before reading this book. Knowing nothing about her made her story even more powerful as she found herself in a world where half the people hated her for being a women and half the world found her writing to be sublime, her story is about survival and revolutions. If I owned a physical copy of this book it would get space on my favorites shelf.
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  • Jeremy Reppy
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating book. Although it is historical fiction, in that the author invented some of the characters and events and dialogue, many of the essential elements are based on what is known about the life and career of Forugh Farrokhzad, the first great (and very controversial) Iranian poetess of the 20th century. As I read the book, I looked up more information on Ms. Farrokhzad because I wanted to know what was true and what the author had created for the story. Ms. Farrokhzad had a da This was a fascinating book. Although it is historical fiction, in that the author invented some of the characters and events and dialogue, many of the essential elements are based on what is known about the life and career of Forugh Farrokhzad, the first great (and very controversial) Iranian poetess of the 20th century. As I read the book, I looked up more information on Ms. Farrokhzad because I wanted to know what was true and what the author had created for the story. Ms. Farrokhzad had a daring and stubbornness that is admirable, as she confronted deeply held societal norms and prejudices that dictated that her behavior, wants, needs, and ambitions were inappropriate, if not at times immoral, but yet she persisted in trying to be the person she wanted to be and to display some sense of independence. Her behavior cost her dearly, including the loss of her son and an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. Yet, in the process she wrote and published powerful poetry that went to the heart of what it meant to be a woman in Iran, what it meant to be living in Iran during a very tumultuous period for the country, and demonstrating the power, pain, joy, pleasure, and frustration that comes with intimacy. In her poetry, she was able to display an openness and intimacy that is hard for the vast majority of people to display.From the poem "Sin"I sinned a sin full of pleasure,In an embrace which was warm and fiery.I sinned surrounded by armsthat were hot and avenging and iron.Ms. Darznik, in her "Author Notes", states it well: "Forugh Farrokhzad gave Iranian women permission to be bold, furious, lustful, and rapturous. She ripped the decorous conventions off women's writing, holding up a mirror for women's hopes and pain." Ms. Farrokhzad's poetry speaks to all of us. "Song of a Captive Bird" is an important book because it introduces the world, in particular American audiences, to a writer/poet that more people should know about. It appears that there are already multiple books written about Ms. Farrokhzad, but these books are primarily collections of her poetry or commentary on her poetry; the types of books that people are not likely to read unless they are already interested in poetry or literary criticism. "Song of a Captive Bird", as a work of historical fiction, is likely to have a much wider audience, thereby exposing more people to the life and literary work of Ms. Farrokhzad.I received a copy of the e-book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I thought I was going to love this book and I liked it a lot the first third; but as time went on — I just tired of it.This is a debut novel of historical fiction that begins in 1940s Iran. It is the story of the Iranian poetForugh Farrokzhad — a woman way ahead of her times.The book starts when Forugh is a child and ends with her death. However, there is an extremely interesting and moving epilogue following her death which is I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I thought I was going to love this book and I liked it a lot the first third; but as time went on — I just tired of it.This is a debut novel of historical fiction that begins in 1940s Iran. It is the story of the Iranian poetForugh Farrokzhad — a woman way ahead of her times.The book starts when Forugh is a child and ends with her death. However, there is an extremely interesting and moving epilogue following her death which is one of the most powerful parts of the book.Forugh grew up in the 1940s in a family with means. Her father was the domineering figure a colonel and a man with connections. Her mother was subservient.Parts I enjoyed most —when I learned things — for instance, in the traditional Persian marriage ceremony the bride does not accept the groom initially.It’s certainly a well researched and gripping portrait of Iran.Maybe it was just overall too sad. And it seemed same same same and I wanted more and different. I wanted her struggle to be successful and it was but only up to a point.So I’m rating it a solid three because it was written well enough, told a story, and I learned something but it just didn’t captivate me.
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  • Jennifer S
    January 1, 1970
    I received this as a Goodreads giveaway.This is the part-fictionalized story of female Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who published in the 1950's and 1960's what was considered highly provocative/erotic poetry in an era when women were expected to submit to their fathers and then husbands. I was fascinated by her story of trying to pursue her own passions - including her writing, her love affairs, and her film-making - despite not only lack of support but active pushback from her family and the I received this as a Goodreads giveaway.This is the part-fictionalized story of female Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who published in the 1950's and 1960's what was considered highly provocative/erotic poetry in an era when women were expected to submit to their fathers and then husbands. I was fascinated by her story of trying to pursue her own passions - including her writing, her love affairs, and her film-making - despite not only lack of support but active pushback from her family and the media. I only discovered afterwards that some of the elements of the narrative were embellished and other perhaps significant parts of her story were left out (supposedly because of lack of sufficient source material) which was a little disappointing. Despite that, a good glimpse into a different time and culture with a strong female protagonist.
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  • Kyra Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I read Jasmin Darznik’s eye-opening novel about the influential Iranian poet and film director, Forugh Farrokhzad. Darznik depicts pre-revolutionary Iran and captures the struggle of a determined Farrokhzad and her difficult path to fame. This is a heartbreaking tribute to the courageous poet who defied the oppression, traditions and prejudices of her time. She lived her life on her own terms and is an inspiration to young girls and women everywhere. I rated this book 4/5 stars only because some I read Jasmin Darznik’s eye-opening novel about the influential Iranian poet and film director, Forugh Farrokhzad. Darznik depicts pre-revolutionary Iran and captures the struggle of a determined Farrokhzad and her difficult path to fame. This is a heartbreaking tribute to the courageous poet who defied the oppression, traditions and prejudices of her time. She lived her life on her own terms and is an inspiration to young girls and women everywhere. I rated this book 4/5 stars only because some important pieces were left out making the storyline inconsistent with the poet’s real life. Overall, this is an educational must-read. Much thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to review this lovely book!
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  • Rachel Stansel
    January 1, 1970
    Song of a Captive Bird is a nesut8ful novel based on the life of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Based on research of her life as well as her poems, this was such an amazing story. I knew nothing about Forugh and little about Iran during the 50-60s. The life she lived was astonishing in its bravery despite the many hardships, brought on her both by the culture and her own choices. I enjoyed the excerpts of her poetry as well and plan to read more. I felt the novelist did a great job of speaking Song of a Captive Bird is a nesut8ful novel based on the life of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Based on research of her life as well as her poems, this was such an amazing story. I knew nothing about Forugh and little about Iran during the 50-60s. The life she lived was astonishing in its bravery despite the many hardships, brought on her both by the culture and her own choices. I enjoyed the excerpts of her poetry as well and plan to read more. I felt the novelist did a great job of speaking in Forugh's voice and sharing her remarkable and sadly short life story.Full disclosure - I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rosann
    January 1, 1970
    Jasmin Darznik's tale of an Iranian poet's journey is based on real-life poet Forugh Farrokhzad. It is a well written, well researched, gripping snapshot of the world in 1940's - 1960's Iran. The characters are explored with all of there faults and foibles. The time is vividly captured in language that gathers in and carries the reader along. The writer gives us a fascinating exploration of this feminist pioneer in all of her short life-- the good, the bad, the inexplicable. Through all of her c Jasmin Darznik's tale of an Iranian poet's journey is based on real-life poet Forugh Farrokhzad. It is a well written, well researched, gripping snapshot of the world in 1940's - 1960's Iran. The characters are explored with all of there faults and foibles. The time is vividly captured in language that gathers in and carries the reader along. The writer gives us a fascinating exploration of this feminist pioneer in all of her short life-- the good, the bad, the inexplicable. Through all of her choices (and their consequences) I felt called to understand her decisions, not judge them.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    This book was well written but just not for me. I tried very hard to get to know Forugh and to care about her. But I didn’t especially find her likable until close to the end of the story. I thought she was selfish and self-serving. I understand that she came from a country that was very oppressive towards women. But Forugh had no respect for herself, her parents, her husband or even her son. No, not for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my This book was well written but just not for me. I tried very hard to get to know Forugh and to care about her. But I didn’t especially find her likable until close to the end of the story. I thought she was selfish and self-serving. I understand that she came from a country that was very oppressive towards women. But Forugh had no respect for herself, her parents, her husband or even her son. No, not for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest review.
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  • Pumpkina
    January 1, 1970
    From the moment I started reading this story I honestly couldn't put it down. This is a page-turner and a gorgeously written novel to boot. I was so moved by the story of this poet, an icon in Iran whose life and writing remind me in some ways of Sylvia Plath. This is for anyone wanting to fall into a richly imagined world while also learning about a fascinating time and period of history. I will be recommending this to many friends and also reading the author's other book. A must-read. Incredib From the moment I started reading this story I honestly couldn't put it down. This is a page-turner and a gorgeously written novel to boot. I was so moved by the story of this poet, an icon in Iran whose life and writing remind me in some ways of Sylvia Plath. This is for anyone wanting to fall into a richly imagined world while also learning about a fascinating time and period of history. I will be recommending this to many friends and also reading the author's other book. A must-read. Incredible!
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  • Kaleena
    January 1, 1970
    Initial Thoughts: Breathtaking and powerful, Song of a Captive Bird is an incredible piece of literature. The novel transports the reader to Iran in the 1940s and 1950s and offers a fictionalized account of the life of Forugh Farrokzhad, a woman who disregarded tradition and found her voice through poetry. I will post my full review closer to the publication date.Thank you Netgalley and the publisher, Ballantine Books, for the digital arc in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Heather Persing
    January 1, 1970
    ***I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.***“Song of a Captive Bird” tells the story of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad in this fictional book that’s inspired by Forugh’s real life letters, poems, films, and interviews. I found Forugh’s character captiving as she fought to become a poet in a time that often devalued women and their contributions to the culture. I also loved learning more about Iran in that time period.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Review to be posted soon
  • Gail Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    Very well written, interesting account of a young Iranian woman born way before her time...
  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful book. I found it fascinating and hard to put down.
  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    I’d rate this a 3.8. A fascinating novel and portrait about the Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Personally I never heard of her before reading this novel but she was an interesting woman who lived during the Shah’s tumultuous and repressive regime. It was not easy for women in Iran but the protagonist was a trailblazer and shot through the norms. Her poetry was extremely provocative for the times and even more so from a woman. The struggles and in some cases indecencies she incurred through her I’d rate this a 3.8. A fascinating novel and portrait about the Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Personally I never heard of her before reading this novel but she was an interesting woman who lived during the Shah’s tumultuous and repressive regime. It was not easy for women in Iran but the protagonist was a trailblazer and shot through the norms. Her poetry was extremely provocative for the times and even more so from a woman. The struggles and in some cases indecencies she incurred through her life are eye opening. I did like the historical fiction aspect as I learned much about life in Iran and particularly the struggles for women in a very paternalistic society. It did go slowly in parts but overall I found it an interesting read. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an independent review.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Even though the story is told by the main character, her life should be presented in action and not related in words. As a result the story is not an engaging [email protected]: Best Historical Fiction
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Forugh Farrokhzad, what an inspirational, motivational woman. One who wouldn't be imprisoned by tradition or misogyny. Extremely well written and captivating. thanks to netgalley!
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