This book provides a fascinating look at growing up in the Iran of the 1980s. Saba lives in a rural area. Her remoteness from the capital provides her with some protection, but she longs for the cosmopolitan Tehran she remembers from pre-revolutionary days. In a broader sense, this is a book about a community coming to terms with a confusing new society. Over the course of the book the presence of the moral police becomes heavier, and the opportunities for a smart young woman like Saba diminish. The author pays significant attention to the development of Saba's relationship with her closest female friend, Ponneh. Each woman takes a very different path to dealing with the restrictions of the new Iran, and neither finds complete satisfaction.
In language and description this is a beautiful book. I was drawn in by Saba and her community. I was less interested in the stories she told about Mahtab, and occasionally found these a bit ponderous. Overall, though, a very moving book.
Diya Nayeri, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (Riverhead, 2013) ISBN: 1594487049