- Fizzy Thoughts: Caspian Rain

Caspian Rain

Friday, May 22, 2009

Caspian Rain
Gina Nahai
September 2007
298 pages

Last month I saw the author speak (at two different panels) at the Festival of Books and I was intrigued enough to hunt down a copy of Caspian Rain.

Publisher's synopsis:
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.

So. I'm kind of stumped. Sounds great, huh? Thing is, I like the idea of this story, but I wasn't so keen on the actual book. I had a hard time getting into the story, because of the writing style. And I can't really explain why. I was never drawn into it to the extent that I forgot my surroundings. The chapters felt abrupt and the characters never fully engaged me. I did like the hints of magical realism (although I don't think the author would call it that...she made reference in one of the panels to how older cultures are more able to suspend disbelief) and the end pretty much floored me. But overall? Not really my cup of tea.

10 comment(s):

gautami tripathy said...

Sometimes many a books are not meant for us. Maybe it was one of those not meant for you.

Ti said...

And my copy sits, looking at me eagerly, all shiny and new.


bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

Does a sweet cover count for anything?? If it does, I love that cover!!

Too bad, it wasn't as amazing as you had hoped. bah.

Beth F said...

Sorry to hear this didn't click for you. I'm in love with the cover.

Florinda said...

I bought a copy of this after one of those panels, too. I've read and liked a couple of her earlier novels, so we'll see how this goes once I eventually get to it. Sorry it didn't work out so well for you, though.

Staci said...

I would've grabbed it up based on the cover alone and it taking place in Iran...sorry to hear that it didn't quite work out for you!!

Liyana said...

Congrats! You have something here.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Well for what it's worth, I would have grabbed the book, too. The setting alone seems worth it. I hate it when a book seems fantastic and then you start reading and it ain't happening for you. Did you finish it? I always feel guilty if I don't and depressed if I do. Catch 22 thing.

bermudaonion said...

Both the premise and the cover are great. Too bad it didn't work.

Susan's Literary Cafe said...

Thank you for the review. Wanted to read this one too for awhile. I had a same problem with a book I was reading. Yesterday I gave it up after reading 150 pages. I can totally relate. I think I am not going to review on the basis of not sure if I had issues going on in my house or was it the book. Because a few bloggers liked the book.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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