The Girl From the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan

The Girl From the Garden

Parnaz Foroutan

With sumptuous prose, evoking the lyricism of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the author creates a vivid portrayal of a culture where female children are considered a burden on the family and barren women are cursed. Like a richly coloured Persian carpet, family myth and traditions, folklore and biblical imagery are woven into this tragic tale of sorrow, sacrifice and paradise lost. A tough read, made bearable by the beautiful writing.


Mahboubeh tends to the trees and flowers of her garden, dirt in the creases of her hands. She pats the trunks of her trees, and speaks to them softly. 'This you must learn,' she says to them, 'that the word paradise is a Farsi word. It means the space within enclosed walls, a cultivated place set apart from the vast wilderness.' ...
Her garden brims with blooming roses, yellow, pink, loose-leafed, petals in candy-stripe of red and white, pungent and scentless, long-stemmed and short bushes. Each year she grafts more and more, searching for a rose with the color and the perfume of the one she remembers from another garden.

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