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Children of the Jacaranda Tree

Children of the Jacaranda Tree

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • freshman reading
New York Times bestselling author Khaled Hosseini says, “Set in post-revolutionary Iran, Sahar Delijani’s gripping novel is a blistering indictment of tyranny, a poignant tribute to those who bear the scars of it, and a celebration of the human heart’s eternal yearning for freedom.”

Neda is born in Iran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before an anonymous guard appears at the cell door one day and simply takes her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death but the anguish and the horror of murder.

These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country’s tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.

“Heartbreakingly heroic” (Publishers Weekly), Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom. Written in Sahar Delijani’s spellbinding prose, capturing the intimate side of revolution in a country where the weight of history is all around, it is a moving tribute to anyone who has ever answered its call.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476709116 | 
  • June 2013
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List Price $10.93
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The Intimate Side of a Revolution

A haunting debut novel that connects to Iran's current political stirrings while vividly recounting a past that must never be forgotten.

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Read an Excerpt

Children of the Jacaranda Tree 1983 Evin Prison, Tehran


Azar sat on the corrugated iron floor of a van, huddled against the wall. The undulating street made the car sway from side to side, swinging her this way and that. With her free hand, she clasped on to something that felt like a railing. The other hand lay on her hard, bulging belly, which contracted and strained, making her breathing choppy, irregular. A heat wave of pain spouted from... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Children of the Jacaranda Tree includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, Children of the Jacaranda Tree follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers whose lives are forever changed by the Iranian Revolution and its aftermath.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Delijani’s gorgeous novel is based, at least partially, on the author’s own experiences—she was born in Iran in 1983—and the stories of her family and friends who lived through the Revolution. How are we to read her interpretation of the events that she describes? Can an author ever separate her own story from the fictional world she creates? Should she? How does our own history and upbringing affect how we as readers interpret what we read?

2. The capital city Tehran is the backdrop for much of the action in this story, and is in some ways almost a character on its own. And yet some characters are drawn to the city, against all odds and in the face of all logic, while others are lured away from it, for education, for safety, for reaso see more

About the Author

Sahar Delijani
Photograph by Luca Brunetti

Sahar Delijani

Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran’s Evin Prison in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She makes her home with her husband in Turin, Italy. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel; it has been translated into twenty-seven languages and published in more than seventy-five countries. Find out more at SaharDelijani.com/en.

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