Rating: 4 / 5
I received SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznikn in my Once Upon a Book Club advent calendar for 2020. When researching sister cities for a Popsugar reading challenge prompt, I found that this book fit right in!
SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD follows Forugh, a young woman living in Tehran. She is brought up being told that girls must be modest and they must obey, but she’s the girl who snuck out to pee off the side of a building like the boys. She finds an outlet in poetry, using her words to express her feelings, even as she continues to be restricted by her father and the other men in her life.
Farugh thinks she may have found some escape in marriage, but she finds that marriage is just as restrictive. As she navigates her relationships, her family, and her life, Farugh’s poetry breaks the bounds of convention, catching many eyes both with praise and condemnation.
I wasn’t aware when I first received this book that it is based on a real poet’s life, that of Forugh Farrokhzad. The author’s note talks about her need to take liberties where the written record of Farugh’s life is missing, but the use of her actual poetry and other content written by and about the poet really bring the character to life. I really enjoyed reading about her journey toward finding her voice.
This isn’t an easy read precisely, there is a lot of dark content. In addition to some of what Farugh faced in her personal life, her life is also lived against the backdrop of the Iranian revolution.
In all this was a beautifully written book and I would love to pick up more of Forugh’s translated poetry in the future after getting a glimpse of some through this novel!
#PopsugarReadingChallenge – two books from twin towns aka “sister cities”