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Rooftops of Tehran

June 22, 2010

Today my book group discussed Rooftops of Tehran, by Mahbod Seraji. None of us had read the book before we selected it, which is unusual. It proved to be a good selection. 7 of 8 of us really enjoyed the book, the eighth found it slow going. Set in 1973 Tehran, Iran, best friends and neighbors Pasha and Ahmed spend evenings on Pasha’s rooftop terrace, talking about school, the future, and girls they admire from afar. Ahmed is a prankster, and provides comic relief at times, such as when he measures the width of their alley, stops traffic and provokes discussion. Pasha is passionate and thoughtful, but hasn’t yet told his father he doesn’t want to go to America to study engineering. During the Shah’s rule, secret police SAVAK disrupt normal life for many in Tehran, taking people away for questioning and imprisonment without filing charges or informing families. Pasha can see lovely Zari in her yard, sitting under the cherry tree, but doesn’t talk with her until Ahmed arranges things. Unfortunately, Zari, about 19 to Pasha’s 17, is engaged to Doctor, a brilliant, rebellious young man Pasha and Ahmed admire. Then Doctor is arrested, and everything changes. Friendship, family, community and mourning are all very important to our characters, and we share their interests. Strong characters and sense of place make for a thought-provoking read. Read more at Rooftops of Tehran.

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