A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society’s expectations to find her voice and her destiny “A complex and beautiful rendering of [a] vanished country and its scattered people; a reminder of the power and purpose of art; and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out”—The New York Times Book Review
All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian 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. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and 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 only grows 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—this haunting novel uses 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. Praise for Song of a Captive Bird
“If poetry is emotion rendered incendiary, then Forugh Farrokhzad was made of fire. . . . Song of a Captive Bird is an unsparing account of the necessity and consequences of speaking out.”—BookPage
“Sometimes, simply choosing whom to love is a political act.”—Vogue (“February’s Best Books”)
“With rich empathy and gorgeous prose, Jasmin Darznik breathes life into one of Iran’s most iconic women, and the result is a beautiful novel that is as compelling as it is necessary.”—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This
“A thrilling and provocative portrait of a powerful woman set against a sweeping panorama of Iranian history.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the author
Jasmin Darznik was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to America when she was five years old. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her work has been published in thirteen countries and recognized by the Steinbeck Fellows Program, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the William Saroyan International Prize. Her stories and essays have been published in TheNew York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Now a professor of literature and creative writing at California College of the Arts, she lives in Northern California with her family.
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