Veil of Roses (copy 3)
17 journalers for this copy...
This book is *wonderful*. We follow the story of Tamila Soroush, whose Iranian family save up and present her with a passport and airliine tickets to go to America and stay with her sister. Life in Iran is circumscribed and the marriage prospect she has to come back to is worrying. In America, she discovers new freedoms, but stays true to her individual and moral self - I was particularly pleased about this aspect. She makes friends among the immigrant community through her language class (these characters were beautifully drawn) and meets all sorts of men, Iranian and otherwise, in her believable but heartbreaking quest to find a man to marry before her visa runs out.
Romantic, touching, funny and obviously told from the heart (Fitzgerald is married to an American-Iranian and dedicates her novel to the women of Iran) this was right up my street, and a very good example of the fish-out-of-water or immigrant-experience genre.
If you like Amy Tan, Funny in Farsi or Pomegranate Soup, or if you have a *heart*, for goodness sakes, you will love this.
This book is going on its travels! Please go by the basic rules or let me know if you have a delay or difficulty...
1. Journal the book when you receive it.
2. PM the next person and make a note that you've done so.
3. Read and review the book, preferably within 4 weeks of receiving it.
4. Mail the book to the next person. PLEASE put on a JE or release note when you've done this.
Jesmondgirl UK (Europe)
Dotdot Finland (Europe)
Sirah Finland (Europe)
CandyDarling Finland (Europe)
Rapturina Netherlands (anywhere)
Lisa-B Germany (anywhere)
Nyassa UK/France (Europe)
Mallary France (Europe, not France)
LindyLouMac Italy (from EU to Europe)
Sudokugirl Bosnia & Herzegovina (anywhere)
Kihli Greece (Europe)
Bokwormy Portugal (anywhere)
hetku77 Finland (near the end) (anywhere)
Lellie (UK) (near the end) (anywhere)
Calalilly UK <---- it's here!
Ray over - thanks to all participants - and the book is free to go wherever it wants to now!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posting to Jesmondgirl today.
I shall pm sirah and pass this straight on.
Thanks for this book and your patience, LyzzyBee. The book is now in Sirah's hands.
I also liked the front cover with the Persian shoes.
I´ll get in touch with CandyDarling and hand the book over to her.
What first struck me was that the author was obviously American, because the way she described America sounded very much like someone who was born and raised there. There is usually a difference in the way people describe the country they grew up in, and they the country they moved to as an adult.
What bothered me was the overall tone of "oh those poor oppressed women in Iran". I don't mean to belittle the problems in Iran, but I felt this book oversimplified some complex issues, like the hejab. Usually wearing the veil is seen as a sign of oppression here in the West, but it doesn't explain why some women want to wear it here, even when they are free not to do so. For Western readers removing the veil is probably a strong sign of liberation, but it's not universally seen that way, which is why I was so baffled by the scene in the airplane where the flight attendant nods in approval when Tami removes her hejab. What airline is she flying on? That scene wasn't very realistic...
When Tami meets her sister Maryam, she first notices Maryam's boob job. I found Maryam's comment "It's what women do here, especially if their husbands have some money" (page 17) very interesting. It felt to me like the possibility of having your breasts enlarged was portrayed as yet another way of excercising our freedom here in the West. But are we really liberated because we can have boob jobs? I don't think so. For me, to be truly free, means the ability to be ourselves, and to accept ourselves without feeling a need to change ourselves. To undergo an unnecessary operation, because we aren't happy the way we look, is a form of oppression, I think.
There were several passages in the book that I liked a lot. Ike's and Tami's relationship was wonderful, and I liked Tami's photographic theme, freedom (page 134). Tami's wonder at the different constellations on the other side of the earth (page 20) was another beautiful passage. I also liked the mention of the singer Googoosh.
I agree with everything dotdot said in her review, the demonization of Iran and the constant praise of how good things are in America sounded like a children's fairy tale, and not a realistic portrayal of the two coutries. Tamila dreams of starting a school for girls (page 74), but comes to the conclusion that there isn't need for one in America. She would do well to read the book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. Things are not as rosy for girls in America as Tami believes.
I'm glad the author mentioned Atefah Rajabi in this book.
I recently read another book about Iranians is the west, "Call It Whatever You Like" by Marjaneh Bakhtiari. (The book is not yet translated to English.) It's about Iranians in Sweden, and it's very different from Veil of Roses. Bakhtiari doesn't spare anyone in her poignant remarks about our society, and it becomes clear that moving away from the oppression in Iran doesn't guarantee a "happily ever after".
My first ever bookring at bookcrossing was Funny in Farsi : A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. I recommend that book to everyone interested in Iranians in America. Dumas will release another book, Laughing Without an Accent in May 2008.
Thank you LyzzyBee for starting this ring. I'm really happy I got the chance to read this book!
EDIT: Sent the book to Rapturina on Oct 5, 2007.
Other than that, I can only really repeat what others have said about this book: I liked how Tami remained true to herself despite the influences of others (especially Eva's "corrupting" ways :D), and how her first experiences of the US were described. I didn't really like the way the US and Iran were set as complete opposites; it made me raise my eyebrows too, but that was somewhat soothed by the author mentioning every immigrant's dilemma in passing: you'll never be completely happy 'cause you'll always miss home. So I think overall the author does make it all seem a little bit too perfect to be moving to America and automatically being happy for the rest of your life, but I do think she touches upon more serious topics during the course of the story, which, for me at least, kind of balanced the sugarcoating.
So all in all this book might've been a little one-sided, but I don't really care. I simply loved how it was written with so much warmth and humour, and the book put a smile on my face. :D
If one is really interested in reading about women in Iran in a more serious manner, I would recommend the excellent "Reading Lolita in Tehran" (Azar Nafisi), and I'd like to endorse CandyDarling's recommendation of "Funny in Farsi" - which I've also read recently and thoroughly enjoyed.
I have Lisa-B's address and will be sending the book on to her in a few days.
ETA: Sent Nov. 3rd.
"Let's see -- I recommend Julia read LIPSTICK JIHAD by Azadeh Moaveni and
also THE SOUL OF IRAN: A NATION'S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM by Afshin Molavi.and
SEARCHING FOR HASSAN by Terence Ward.
I think her points regarding the book are solid -- I knew I couldn't write
about Iran a tenth as well as others already have, so I tried to write a
book for people who until recently didn't even know where Iran is on a map,
much less what life is like for the women who live there. It was a
light-touch approach, and I suppose all I can say is I'm pleased she's
wanting to learn more!"
Thanks, LyzzyBee, for posting the author's comment on her aim and intended audience. The novel never pretends to be more than it is, because the tone is light and often humorous, and that is in my opinion very laudable!
Updated: I really do apologize to everyone for having held this ring up for so long. I realise now I even managed to forget to journal it before posting.
I'm sorry to say I didn't entirely enjoy the book. It gives a very misleading view of life for an Iranian girl. My son's girlfriend is from Iran and they visited family there so I have spoken to her about it. There were other things I didn't care for: I found it very US-centric, as though the US was the only possibility of freedom; I felt the Iranian suitors were rather caricatures, too bad to be true; it is unlikely that the daughter of westernised parents would wear a hijab, more likely a scarf; if she was born in the US she wouldn't have needed that all important green card.
In spite all my nit-picking, it was nevertheless a light and easy read, and at least it made me think.
Again, I'm very sorry to have held things up so much.
What great timing!
I have just finished a bookring book and was just about to start a library book.
Now I'll read this, thank you nyassa!
I was just sorting out some books to go back to the library when I found this on my bookshelf. I never normally put bookring books on the bookshelf because they get forgotten about.
I am so sorry I have stalled your ring, I will parcel this up and send it to LindyLouMac this week.
A potentially strong outline for a cross cultural novel that I hoped like others I have read would leave a strong impression. I usually find I learn a lot from such novels and am left with plenty to think about after finishing the story.
Veil of Roses left no impression whatsoever, very disappointing. I did not feel particularly impassioned by the cultural facts that were presented in the novel. Maybe it comes over in this almost emotionless way because the author is not actually Iranian herself, although married to an Iranian –American, so there is no first hand emotion in the writing.
A compassionate love story that I personally felt lacked the emotional depth that I normally expect when reading a cross cultural novel such as this one.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
En route to Sudokugirl in Bosnia
I have kihli's address and will try to send the book their way today.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent to kihli.
Sure there are problems,most of which already mentioned. Iran can't be all evil while the US is the Place of all Virtues (unfortunately no place on Earth is...). Yes there are major problems in the USA too-but let's not forget that Iran and the political situation there is a completely different subject. There are so many articles one could read about Iran that could make him shudder,because of the regime.
Nevertheless,it was a nice story,naive at some points,but overall humorous and romantic.
thanks for sharing!
I'm waiting for an address so I can send it soon :)
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
going to bokwormy
Released 11 yrs ago (9/30/2008 UTC) at
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On the way to hetku77 in Finland!
18.11. I finished reading the book over the weekend. The story was very nice, though quite naive at some points and lacked the depth like the previous readers have already mentioned, so I won't go into that anymore. One of Tami's Iranian suitors, Haroun, clearly had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Unfortunately it is for real (and not dependent on the person's nationality). Haroun also had the intelligence to reason his obsessions - this makes the "normal" person to question his/her own sanity. Not nice, I can tell you. All in all I really enjoyed reading the book. It was romantic, funny and entetaining to read. I also loved the way the story was written and the different characters in it, especially Tami's classmates. In the end the book left a warm feeling, which matters the most in this case.
23.11. The book was mailed to lellie today.
Thanks everyone, this little book has been on quite a journey.
The one sidedness of this story bothered me. Nowhere is all good just as nowhere is all bad and women can be just as oppressed in so called free countries, just sometimes in different ways.
The nonesense around the boob jobs and make-up and underwear was a bit shallow and went on for too long.
However if you are not looking for an in-depth cultural comparison, this was quite a nice little book.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Off to purplerosebud
Thanks for sharing LyzzyBee, another author you and BC have introduced me to. Will be passing it on to calalilly very soon.