Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award � Semi-finalist in general fiction
Two women are caught up in revolutions thirty years apart, but it is a third woman�the woman that connects them�that carries the scars of loss that time has not healed. Weaving together the past and the present, two storylines tell the life of Omid, the daughter of one revolutionary and the mother of another.
In December of 1978, seventeen-year-old Omid is forced to flee Iran on the eve of the Islamic Revolution. Her mother, a Tehran University professor and outspoken anti-government activist, is part of the political wave that is working to overthrow the Pahlavi regime.
Omid�s arrival in America is difficult. She is isolated by language and culture. She is also determined that her time in this country will be temporary, but that idea is cut short when she soon discovers that her mother has become a fugitive, pursued by the newly formed Revolutionary Guard because of her political views.
Fast forward thirty years. Omid is living in Connecticut, the mother of two teenage daughters. Since the death of her own mother, she has buried the anguish and suffering that once struck her down. Her life is suddenly upended, though, when her older daughter, Sayeh, on a short trip to Iran, is arrested by Iranian authorities on false charges. Then, while being transferred to the notorious Evin Prison, Sayeh and a female Iranian student escape their captors with the help of an unruly crowd.
Omid�s Shadow explores two periods of crisis in a woman�s life: as a seventeen-year-old struggling to cope long distance with her mother�s situation�and thirty years later, as a mother agonizing over the news of her daughter�s arrest, escape, and subsequent political activities. As Sayeh joins the pre-election activities of young revolutionaries fighting for rights they�ve been denied for more than three decades on streets of Tehran, the same spirit begins to stir in Omid.
Omid realizes that she is losing her daughter to the revolutionary fever that once consumed her mother�the fever that was very much a part of her own existence as a seventeen-year-old, protesting on the streets of Iran. As she struggles with her fears for Sayeh, she also realizes that she is beginning to find her true self. The person buried for decades beneath the weight of lost hope has begun to emerge.
Laced with the literary wisdom of Iran�s great poets, the novel draws on and illuminates a Middle Eastern culture that continues to fascinate readers. Omid�s Shadow, although fiction, draws on many actual events that occurred on Tehran�s streets after the election in June of 2009. Like the great tragedies of literature�from Romeo and Juliet to A Doll�s House to Ragtime to The Kite Runner�Omid�s Shadow takes us from the public politics of the street fight to the private power of the human heart.
ABNA 2011 Semifinalist title
From Publishers Weekly
This timely political novel features three generations of Iranian women who dare to stand up to repressive regimes. Scenes alternate between a worried mother in Connecticut and her na�ve daughter who becomes a passionate reform activist and hunted fugitive in Tehran. In Connecticut, Omi sees her marriage crumbling and regrets telling her daughter about the family's fate at the hands of the Khomeini government and her own past as a student activist. The importance of social media to populist reform and revolutionary movements is demonstrated convincingly. Urgent appeals to embassies and official departments yield more delays than information, but Facebook updates, text messaging, and prepaid phones dramatically reduce the isolation of the repressed. Relevant and realistic, this novel is a fair fit for those concerned about the changing nature of world politics.
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About the Author
Hichkass Hamekass is the pen name for our mothers, our daughters, and our friends who will not give up the fight for freedom. Azadi!