Introducing memorable characters as he chronicles Ahmad’s family and pathway from childhood to esteemed poet to risk-taking politician, Araghi unfolds a poignant story of love, loss, and social upheaval ... A highly recommended literary page-turner worth a second reading; fans of Gabriel García Márquez will delight in this fantastical—and fantastic novel.
The novel successfully incorporates magic into the narrative without distraction or hyperbole ... However, the plotline involving cats falls flat ... Ahmad’s development as a flawed but real character with complex relationships, and the evolution of a city that can’t quite get its political footing are by far the biggest and most fascinating drivers of the novel ... If one is not up to snuff on their Iranian history, they would do well to brush up before cracking open the novel. While clear markers and well-rendered action indicate big events, the weight of these moments have more significance when the context is understood. The same can be said of the plot, which builds itself on Iranian history. Without good knowledge, readers may get lost. The benefit in Araghi’s approach, though, is that the novel is not a history lesson; rather, it asks its readers to look at how history and politics parlay into people’s lives. Araghi’s stunning novel embraces family and independence, political strife, and, despite its display of conflict, a profound love of Tehran and its history.