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Extended Audio Sample The Girl from the Garden, by Parnaz Foroutan Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5 4.50 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Parnaz Foroutan Narrator: Lameece Issaq Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An extraordinary new writer makes her literary debut with this suspenseful novel of desire, obsession, power, and vulnerability, in which a crisis of inheritance leads to the downfall of a wealthy family of Persian Jews in early-twentieth-century Iran.

For all his wealth and success, Asher Malacouti—the head of a prosperous Jewish family living in the Iranian town of Kermanshah—cannot have the one thing he desires above all: a male son. His young wife Rakhel, trapped in an oppressive marriage at a time when a woman’s worth is measured by her fertility, is made desperate by her failure to conceive and grows jealous and vindictive.

Her despair is compounded by her sister-in-law Khorsheed’s pregnancy and her husband’s growing desire for Kokab, his cousin’s wife. Frustrated by his wife’s inability to bear him an heir, Asher makes a fateful choice that will shatter the household and drive Rakhel to dark extremes to save herself and preserve her status within the family.

Witnessed through the memories of the family’s only surviving daughter, Mahboubeh, now an elderly woman living in Los Angeles, The Girl from the Garden unfolds the complex, tragic history of her family in a long-lost Iran of generations past. Haunting, suspenseful, and inspired by events in the author’s own family, it is an evocative and poignant exploration of sacrifice, betrayal, and the indelible legacy of the families that forge us.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This elegant debut focuses on a family of wealthy Iranian Jews and the inheritance crisis that nearly tears them apart. Told from the viewpoint of the daughter, who’s left her homeland to live in Los Angeles, it’s a riveting portrait of family strife in a troubled land—and the fallout when a woman’s fertility determines her worth.”

    People

  • “Set against the tumultuous backdrop of early twentieth century Iran, The Girl from the Garden is an evocative tale of loss, betrayal, and family ties. Parnaz Foroutan is a stunning new literary talent, and her debut novel is a gift to readers everywhere.”

    Amy Greene, bestselling author of Bloodroot

  • “Foroutan’s richly layered debut explores the dark political maneuverings inside a single household in a Jewish enclave in Iran…sumptuous prose paints a vivid portrait of a rarely explored historical and cultural setting.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “In this stunning first novel, Foroutan draws on her own family history to integrate the lore and traditions of old Iran. Suspenseful and haunting, this riveting story of jealousy, sacrifice, and betrayal and the intimately drawn characters within will not be easily forgotten.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Foroutan’s lyrical debut offers a mosaic of stories evoking life within a wealthy Jewish home in Kermanshah, Iran…the poetic narration overlays the suffering with surprising beauty.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • The Girl from the Garden is a spectacular novel—a riveting, finely wrought portrait of loss, longing, and passion in the intimate lives of an extended family in Iran. Foroutan is a writer of astounding talent, and her tale is moving and unforgettable.”

    Carolina De Robertis, author of The Invisible Mountain

  • “In her debut novel, Parnaz Foroutan has written an incantatory tale of love, sacrifice, and an unquenchable yearning for paradise. Foroutan unfurls a sensuous, poetic tapestry of gardens and seasons, of women enshrouded and silenced by culture, of men made intractable by honor, religious tradition, and filial loyalty.”

    Melissa Pritchard, award–winning author of Palmerino

  • “Some novels open the door to historical worlds you’ve never seen before, worlds that contain unforgivable cruelty and spectacular grace. Parnaz Foroutan’s The Girl from the Garden is just such a novel, a powerful story about the contorted lives of women in an ancient patriarchy, radiantly told.”

    Robert Eversz, author of Zero to the Bone

  • “The fortunes of a wealthy Iranian-Jewish family are explored in this poignant, accomplished, and cinematic first novel.”

    BookPage

Listener Opinions

  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 by Melissa | 4/19/2016

    " This book let me laugh, cry and think. It was beautifully written and performed amazingly. "

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About the Author

Parnaz Foroutan was born in Iran and spent her early childhood there. She received PEN Center USA’s Emerging Voices Fellowship for The Girl from the Garden, which was inspired by her own family history. She has been named to the Hedgebrook Fellowship and Residency and received funding from the Elizabeth George Foundation, among other institutions. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters.

About the Narrator

Lameece Issaq is a narrator and actress who has had roles in the short films Parade of Horribles and A Piece of America, as well as the television show Blue Bloods.