Los Angeles Times best seller
A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society's expectations to find her voice and her destiny
"A complex and beautiful rendering of [a] vanished country and its scattered people, a reminder of the power and purpose of art, and an ode to female creativity under a patriarchy that repeatedly tries to snuff it out." [The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)]
All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel - gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother's walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh's passion for poetry takes flight - and tradition seeks to clip her wings.
Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh's poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules - at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.
Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad's verse, letters, films, and interviews - and including original translations of her poems - this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran - and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.
Praise for Song of a Captive Bird:
"Forugh Farrokhzad's short life brimmed with controversy and rebellion.... This feminist icon inspired Darznik's imaginative debut." (Ms.)
“If poetry is emotion rendered incendiary, then Forugh Farrokhzad was made of fire.... Song of a Captive Bird is an unsparing account of the necessity and consequences of speaking out.” (BookPage)
“Sumptuously captures a fierce and turbulent life, as well as a vanished country swept away by revolution.” (Newsweek)
“A stunning and powerful debut... At a time when our country is at war with art and women, this courageous book is required reading.” (Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This)