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Cry of the Peacock

Cry of the Peacock

by Gina Barkhordar-Nahai

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nahai begins her vivid, intriguing historical chronicle in the 1780s in Persia and concludes 200 years later in contemporary Iran. Following a family of Jews through seven generations, from Juyy Bar, the Jewish ghetto of Esfahan, to America, she begins with Esther the Soothsayer. Versed in magic and witchcraft Esther can foretell the future. She appears in the dreams and visions of her progeny, including her granddaughter, Peacock, born in the late 1860s, whose life spans well over a century. Nahai weaves together the brutal history of Muslims, Jews, the shahs and colonial forces that played a part in transforming Persia into Iran, using fables and legends to give much of the novel an exotic, fairy-tale effect. But as the story reaches the 20th century, readers will encounter the exiled Pahlavi shah, Mossadeq and Khomeini, and recognize recent events. Nahai succeeds in personalizing history, opening a window onto the baffling political history of Iran and its neighbors. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In a dizzying melange of history, myth, and magical realism, first novelist Barkhordar-Nahai chronicles the tragedies and triumphs of Iran's Jewish community. The novel follows the fortunes of one family from the late 18th century, when Jews weren't allowed to go out in the rain for fear that a Jewish raindrop would contaminate a Muslim, through Khomeini's Islamic revolution, when Jews only one generation from the ghetto again became the victims of Islamic fundamentalism. From Esther the Soothsayer, who can predict the deaths of Shahs, through 116-year-old Peacock, born into poverty in the ghetto who lives to see the emancipation of Jews and then their eventual destruction by the mullahs, characters suffer unspeakable horrors and yet retain an unquenchable spirit of survival. This fascinating book on a little-known subject is essential for public library fiction collections.-- Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- This unusual novel focuses on Peacock, a 116-year-old woman who was captured by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran in 1982. Her story, and that of the Iranian Jews, is related as she stays in her cell awaiting her fate. Readers are introduced through a third-person narrative to Peacock's family--Ester the Soothsayer, Joseph the Winemaker, Solomon the Man--and to the events of the past 200 years. Stylistically, Nahai conveys the tumult and mystique associated with this area of the world. Although potentially confusing to those unfamiliar with Persian history, her chronicle becomes clearer as modern-day Iran comes into focus. A book for serious students and for those interested in historical fiction on the Middle East. --Diane Goheen, Topeka West High School, KS

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Crown Publishing Group
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1st ed

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