Storytelling at its most ravishing, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree maps the story of one family in search of safety and intellectual freedom in the aftermath the of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Narrated by the ghost of the family’s 13-year-old daughter Bahar, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree renders a stunning and reverent meditation on the indestructible bond between the living and the dead, leading the reader into breath-taking worlds of imagination and allegory.
Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020
A family story about the unbreakable connection between the living and the dead.
Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this moving, richly imagined novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a thirteen-year-old girl, whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across their ancient land and its people. Bahar’s mother, after a tragic loss, will embark on a long, eventful journey in search of meaning.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of trauma through the ritual of storytelling itself. Through her unforgettable characters, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime.
Publisher: Europa Editions (UK) Ltd
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 210 x 135 mm
"A Farsi Isabel Allende." * The Guardian *
"It takes a special writer - and Azar is one such - to avoid faltering when the harshest experiences are interlaced with scenes of fantastical interventions in the routine experiences of the characters. The lives created within this novel and the conditions to which they must adapt, lead to extraordinary scenes." * The Irish Times *
"A sumptuous meditation on the practice of interpretation." * Asymptote Journal *
"A mesmerizing and richly textured novel about Iranian history post Islamic Revolution. A sublime tale about how a nation's past defines its national and personal narratives, written by one of Iran's rising literary talents." * BookRiot *
"If ever there was a book that needs to be read more than once, this is it." * ArtsHub *
"[Azar's] book is a great journey. It moves places and it moves us as readers, in an emotional and intellectual sense." * The Los Angeles Review of Books *
"The plot is intricate...the writing is ravishing: shimmeringly poetic...so mesmerizing is the storytelling." * The Weekend Australian *
"Azar delves deep into the mythological spirit realm and pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia . . . [taking] us into breathtaking worlds of imagination and allegory . . . Astonishing." * Backstory *
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