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To Keep the Sun Alive : A Novel.
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"How do we recognize the moment our future has been written for us? In To Keep the Sun Alive , as the Islamic Revolution looms just outside the gate of an Iranian family orchard, Rabeah Ghaffari has built a world so lush, so precise that you will find yourself rewriting history if only to imagine it could still exist." --Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing <br> <br> The year is 1979. The Iranian Revolution is just around the corner. In the northeastern city of Naishapur, a retired judge and his wife, Bibi-Khanoom, continue to run their ancient family orchard, growing apples, plums, peaches, and sour cherries. The days here are marked by long, elaborate lunches on the terrace where the judge and his wife mediate disputes between aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews that foreshadow the looming national crisis to come. Will the monarchy survive the revolutionary tide gathering across the country? Will the judge's brother, a powerful cleric, take political control of the town or remain only a religious leader?<br> <br> And yet, life goes on. Bibi-Khanoom's grandniece secretly falls in love with the judge's grandnephew and dreams of a career on the stage. His other grandnephew withers away on opium dreams. A widowed father longs for a life in Europe. A strained marriage slowly unravels. The orchard trees bloom and fruit as the streets in the capital grow violent. And a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse, set to occur on one of the holiest days of year, finally causes the family--and the country--tobreak.<br> <br> Told through a host of unforgettable characters, ranging from servants and young children to intimate friends, To Keep the Sun Alive reveals the personal behind the political, reminding us of the human lives that animate historical events.
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  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Ghaffari's exciting debut is a family epic centered on several months in 1979. Each section begins in 2012 Paris, where an old man named Shazdehpoor sells calligraphy to tourists and cherishes what he has left of his native Iran. The following chapters move back in time to the lives of Shazdehpoor's family in 1979, at the beginning of the Iranian Revolution. The country is alive with the promise of change, which inspires Nasreen, who wants to escape the confining role she watched her mother occupy, and her love, Madjid, a university student who imagines the future Iran could have. Shazdehpoor's uncle, who is a retired judge, and his wife host the family for lunches in their orchard, while another uncle, a cleric, encourages the rise of religious fundamentalism. Ghaffari weaves each character's deep history into the novel, creating a very complete world. Her poetic prose relays deep and intimate emotion in a single line; its richness makes characters' joys and tragedies palpably felt by readers, too. This is a beautifully written story of a family's upheaval and its roots in their own history.--Laura Chanoux Copyright 2018 Booklist
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