Song of a Captive Bird – A Book Review

About the Book (from Amazon):

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.

My Thoughts:

This was a very interesting fictional biography of a figure that I had never heard about in a country and time period that my knowledge of is extremely limited. The thing I love about historical fiction is that you can learn so much in an interesting format that reads like a novel rather than a textbook. This book definitely fits that bill. I had a very cursory education on Iran and its history and I believe a lot of my memory of that has been shaped by the world we live in today and what the world was like as I was going through school. Because of this knowledge I am always trying to learn more about the world and this book is an excellent glimpse into a very tumultuous time of Iran’s history and what it might have been to be a strong willed intelligent woman there. Forugh’s life was not an easy one and she had to make decisions in life situations that I can barely imagine. After reading this fictional tale of her life I will be searching out her poetry. I look forward to seeing what more I can learn about this remarkable woman.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley for my fair and honest review.

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