Dalia Sofer’s “Septembers of Shiraz”

P.24 – This reminiscence, Farnaz thinks, has the flavor of old stories rehashed at funerals.

“muddy silence”

“Isaac liked seeing the fair-skinned Americans there, loud and lighthearted, tongues twirling as they spoke.”

Dalia Sofer courtesy nytimes.com

P. 53 – The housekeeper arrives with a silver tray she places on the coffee table. On it is the familiar tea set, of yellow porcelain with a garden motif – passed down to Keyvan by his great-grandfather, a court painter during the reign of the Qajar king Nasir al-Din Shah. The set was a present from the king to the artist, upon the king’s return from Europe. Farnaz looks at the set, and at the plate of sweets accompanying it – browned madeleines, buttered and plump, made more golden by the soft light of the table lamp – and she thinks, here, on this tray, lie the country’s aspirations as well as its demise, its desire for cosmopolitanism and its refusal to see itself for what it has become – an empire that has grown smaller with each passing century, its own magnificence displaced by that of other nations. For what is a housekeeper named Massoumeh, born in Orumiyeh, in the province of Azerbaijan, doing preparing madeleines, the most popular of French pastries?”


“all of these people…residue of a generation…”

“…and an old man, Muhammad, whom no one knows much about, except that he has three daughters in the women’s block – one for being a communist, one for being an adulteress, and the other for being their sister.”

P. 145 – To the long list of losses, Parviz adds dignity.

P. 227 – His youth is doing little for him, except robbing him of his right to suffer.


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