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Equal of the Sun

Equal of the Sun

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter and protégée, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but her maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, possess an incredible tapestry of secrets that explode in a power struggle of epic proportions.

Legendary women—from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots—changed the course of history in the royal courts of England. While they are celebrated, few people know of the powerful and charismatic women in the Muslim world. Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue that brings one extraordinary woman to light. Anita Amirrezvani is a master storyteller, and her lustrous prose breathes life into this rich and labyrinthine world with a stunning cast of characters—passionate and brave men and women who defy or embrace their destiny in a Machiavellian game played by those who lust for power and will do anything to attain it
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  • Scribner | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451660470 | 
  • March 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Equal of the Sun 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

In sixteenth century Iran, the princess Pari Khan Khanoom rules alongside her father, Tahmasb Shah. But when the shah dies without leaving an heir, the court at Qazveen is thrown into upheaval. Amid the squabbling about who will become the next shah, Pari is faced with a dilemma—how can she ensure that whoever becomes shah will accept her as an adviser as her father did? Pari’s eunuch and confidante Javaher—known for his ability to extract information from any source and navigate the tricky hierarchies at the court—comes to her aid. But he has his own agenda—to uncover who accused his own father of treason years before.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. In the opening pages of Equal of the Sun, Javaher notes: “People say that one’s future is inscribed on the forehead at birth—Pari’s forehead announced a future that was rich and storied.” Does Pari fulfill her prophecy? What about Javaher?

2. Why do you think Pari opposes Haydar and supports Isma’il, even though sh see more

About the Author

Anita Amirrezvani
© Rex Bonomelli

Anita Amirrezvani

Anita Amirrezvani is the author of the novel The Blood of Flowers which has been published in more than twenty-five languages and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She teaches at the California College of the Arts and Sonoma State University.

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