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Persian Brides

Though it’s as magical and intricate as a flying carpet, this freshman effort is also a tragic fairy tale. In the Jewish ghetto of a turn-of-the-century Persian village, where houses are clustered around an alley of almond trees and where no one’s business is their own, girls and women are caught in an endless cycle of waiting, suffering, cooking, and gossiping. Rabinyan’s rich, sensual language belies the story’s bleak content; the novel’s mystical moments can’t mask its violent turns. Persian Brides limns the cruelty and despair of a far-off world in vivid detail. B+

Persian Brides
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