By Gina B. Nahai
(MacAdam Cage, Hardcover, 9781596922518, 150pp.)
Publication Date: October 16, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
From the best-selling author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, a stirring, lyrical tale that offers American readers unique insight into the inner workings of Iranian society.
In the decade before the Islamic Revolution, Iran is a country on the brink of explosion. Twelve-year-old Yaas is born into an already divided family: Her father is the son of wealthy Iranian Jews who are integrated into the country’s upper-class, mostly Muslim elite; her mother was raised in the slums of South Tehran, one street away from the old Jewish ghetto.
Yaas spends her childhood navigating the many layers of Iranian society. Her task, already difficult because of the disparity in her parents’ worldview, becomes all the more critical when her father falls in love with a beautiful woman from a noble Muslim family. As her parents’ marriage begins to crumble and the country moves ever closer to revolution, Yaas is plagued by a mysterious and terrifying illness. But despite her ailment, when she learns that her father is about to abandon her and her mother—to immigrate to America with his mistress—Yaas is determined to save herself and her family.
At once a cultural exploration of an as-yet-unfamiliar society and a psychological study of the effects of loss, Caspian Rain takes the reader inside the tragic and fascinating world of a brave young girl struggling against impossible odds.
Gina B. Nahai is the author of Cry of the Peacock (winner of the Los Angeles Arts Council Award for Fiction), Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith (finalist for the Orange Prize in England and the IMPAC award in Dublin), and Sunday’s Silence. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and are taught at universities and high schools nationwide. Nahai was a contributing author to The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt, which won the 2005 Jewish Book Award, and her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Magazine, and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Nahai currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is a professor of creative writing at the University of Southern California and is at work on a new novel."
1. One of the dominant themes in the story is that of loss: Bahar losing her dreams, Yaas losing her hearing and her father, Ruby losing her lover…How does each character respond to his or her great loss? Is that reaction universal, or is it particular to the place and the culture? How would a Westerner react to a similar loss?
“Nahai's alluring poetic style draws us into the lives of her female characters…captivating prose…a powerful testament to Iranian women's fight against oppression.”
“Nahai’s story of a haunted Jewish family in Tehran during the shah’s last years possesses the dark beauty and harsh lessons of a fairy tale…Nahai’s poetic and cathartic drama speaks for all silenced women, for all who are tyrannized.”
—Booklist STARRED review
“…both a riveting family drama and compelling historical fiction…The multiple ways Jews and Muslims intersect is also clearly presented, offering a fascinating glimpse into Persian life prior to the 1979 insurgency. Richly detailed, emotionally intense, and tremendously moving, this work is highly recommended.”
—Library Journal STARRED review
“In her stirring fourth novel, Nahai explores the struggles of an Iranian family in the tenuous decade before the Islamic revolution…a poignant tale of a ‘damaged family.’”
“Filled with hope and despair, Caspian Rain is Nahai's most emotional and inspiring novel yet. Nahai's heroine — the inspired and inspiring Yaas — learns the lessons of obedience, subservience, and forbearance, and then chooses a surprising and unexpected path.”
—Lisa See, author of Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
“Unexpected and heartrending, but also witty, elegiac, sophisticated and edgy. Caspian Rain is a beautiful book.”
—Chris Abani, author of Graceland and The Virgin of Flames
“In Caspian Rain, Gina Nahai writes with subtlety and grace about the unappeasable forces of culture, class and family which shape the life of a young girl growing up in Jewish Tehran before the mullahs.”
—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
“Caspian Rain once more proves Gina B. Nahai's ability to create through her wonderfully lyrical prose a fictional world that, while rooted in a particular culture and history, is universally relevant and appealing.”
—Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran