“Forugh Farrokhzad’s determination to live freely and authentically, and to express that determination in her art, proved unbearable to the fundamentalist state. Jasmin Darznik brings her own poetic sensibility to bear on this tragic, but ultimately inspiring, act of creative remembrance.”

Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals

“Jasmin Darznik’s moving portrait of Forugh Farrokhzad does true justice to the brave voice of a poet, beloved by generations of Iranians, whose work should be better known. Alive and sensuous, Darznik’s prose mirrors Forugh’s poetry, making no separation between life and work, leaving open and unguarded that door we so often find closed.”

Donia Bijan, author of “The Last Days of Café Leila”

SONG of a CAPTIVE BIRD

A Novel

 

Whether gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, or sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glace, Forugh Farrokzhad was always a rebel. Though Iran was Westernizing in the 1940s, during Forugh’s childhood, most of the country still believed that women were not to be heard from. Yet, at age eleven, young Forugh began writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father–and a passion for words lodged deeply within her. When she ended up in a suffocating marriage at sixteen, she ran away and fell into a passionate love affair which only increased her creative wingspan, leading her to seek freedom and independence.

Her poems were considered both scandalous and brilliant; Forugh was at once a national treasure and the devil too. She persevered, living by her own rules, at the cost of love, friendship, and eventually her own life, cut tragically short at the age of 32, amid the violent upheaval of the budding Iranian revolution.

In subsequent years, Forugh’s poetry was banned, the presses that printed her work burned to the ground, and citizens forced to hide away their treasured collections of her verses. To this day, Forugh Farrokhzad represents the birth of feminism in Iran, and Jasmin Darznik uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and ecstatic turmoil of this iconic woman’s story.

ABOUT JASMIN DARZNIK

Jasmin Darznik is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her novel Song of a Captive Bird is a fictional account of Iran’s trailblazing woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, and will be published by Random House in 2018. Jasmin was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in Northern California. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. She is a professor of English and creative writing at California College of the Arts and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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