Caspian Rain (Paperback)

By Gina B. Nahai

MacAdam/Cage Publishing, 9781596923140, 300pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2008

Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List

“Nahai's writing is so lyrical and flowing that you almost forget how hard life can be for someone doomed to forever be an outsider. Set in pre-revolution Iran in a time when Jews lived under a measure of protection provided by the Shah, this is the story of Bahar, who marries above her station and becomes isolated from the family and society she marries into, and the family and friends she left behind. Caspian Rain illuminates a complex society and tells a moving story.”
— Laura Hansen, Bookin' It, Little Falls, MN
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Description

From the bestselling author of "Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith" comes a stirring, lyrical tale that offers American readers a unique insight into the inner workings of Iranian society, and takes them into the tragic and fascinating world of a brave young girl struggling against impossible odds.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  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?
  2. Bahar marries Omid thinking it will open for her many doors to opportunity. Instead, she becomes the prisoner of limitations. To what extent are these limitations social and cultural, and to what extent do they spring from her personal shortcomings?
  3. Given that Omid's controlling Bahar is not very different from the way other men treat their wives at the time, do you think Omid is particularly cruel? Or can his behavior be understood within the social and historical context of the story?
  4. Are there choices for Bahar and Yaas that they do not recognize? Could they take a road, in responding to life's hardships, that they aren't able to see because of their own warped perception?
  5. With the exception of Ruby and the Tango Dancer, all the women in the story do their best to abide by the rules of their society. This costs them dearly. But Ruby and the Tango Dancer, who do not respect social mores, also pay a great price for their freedom. Which of the two is the wiser way? Do women everywhere have a better chance of finding happiness by living within traditional boundaries, or by challenging them in favor of greater freedom?
  6. Chamedooni carries a suitcase full of hope—most of it false or misleading. Does he do his clients a service by giving them that hope? Or is he pushing them into the bottomless hole that the Tango Dancer warns Yaas against?
  7. Afterward, Yaas is not certain if her father had indeed promised he would take her along to America, or if she had misunderstood him because of her failing hearing. What do you think happened? Would Omid be capable of such cruelty? Or did Yaas hear what she wanted to hear?
  8. Knowing what will become of her parents' meeting, Yaas has a choice in the final chapter: she can prevent the meeting, or let Bahar go on to the future that destroys her. Do you agree with the decision she makes?
  9. "What is a life, in the end, but a story we leave behind?" Yaas asks. What does she mean by this?
  10. How would you answer Yaas's other question: "What do you do with a loss you can neither cure, nor accept, nor overcome?"
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