Dear Fellow Readers,
For fans of historical fiction, I have a book for you. If you asked me, I would tell you that I am not particularly a fan of historical fiction but that isn’t true. I seem to read a fair number of books that are classified as historical fiction. Part of the reason is the book clubs I belong to but then sometimes I get intrigued by the subject matter.
Song of a Captive Bird is different from other historical fiction books I have read. First of all, it takes place in Iran in the 1940s and 50s. I know nothing about this era in Iran. The book tells the story of Forugh Farrokhzad. She was a poet and was famous for inspiring feminism in Iran.
The story is told from her perspective and starts as she is growing up in a family where her father rules with an iron fist. She is different. She questions authority and tries to please her father with her poetry. She reads voraciously and tries to imitate the poetry that her father admires. Her spirit leads her not to want to do what a “good” daughter would do. As a result, she was seen by others as not a good candidate as a wife.
And then she falls in love at 16. She sees an older cousin and works to gain his attention. She strains the rules by meeting him in the alley and exchanging notes. Then she completely tears it by meeting him in a coffee shop. Her disobedience is discovered and there is a rather graphic scene where her virginity is validated but not without consequences. Before she knows it, she is married to him and he spurns her.
She continues to write poetry and dares to escape to the city to try and sell her poetry. This leads to an affair that ruins her marriage and she loses her son.
Her father rushed her into the marriage and then when her affair becomes notorious, has her committed. She is saved by a friend and goes to live with the friend in seclusion.
At the same time, there are winds of change Iran. The Shaw has opposition and there are those that think that there is too much Western influence in the country. The secret police watch overall and are swift with their form of justice.
The book is based on the author’s review of Forugh’s poems, letters, films, and interviews. It is an interesting look at Forugh’s rebel spirit and the times in Iran.
Thanks for reading!