Massoumeh is a quiet, thoughtful soul, living in pre-revolutionary Iran. On her daily walk to school she meets Saiid, a medical student. They fall madly in love, but their love is immediately tested. When Massoumeh’s brothers find out about Saiid, they are enraged. She is hastily married off to Hamid, a thirty-year-old political activist who devotes his life to furthering the communist cause. Massoumeh is then left to raise her family alone.
Over the subsequent years Massoumeh endures great hardships and finds herself both in and out of public favour for being married to a communist. Despite not sharing his beliefs and not even approving of his behaviour, her life and her children’s lives are profoundly affected by his actions. But what of Saiid? Where is he in all this strife? Is Massoumeh destined to be with him? Has fate determined the answer, or will she?
This is by no means an easy read. It is full of issues: the role of women, religious belief, politics, society… It’s quite dark and in parts I struggled with it. Nevertheless, if read with others, it will generate great discussions and for that reason you may well decide it is worthwhile.
Publisher: Little, Brown • ISBN: 9780349138770