The Gardens of Consolation

Parisa Reza

In the early 1920s, in the remote village of Ghamsar, Talla and Sardar, two teenagers dreaming of a better life, fall in love and marry. Sardar brings his young bride with him across the mountains to the suburbs of Tehran, where the couple settles down and builds a home. From the outskirts of the capital city, they will watch as the Qajar dynasty falls and Reza Khan rises to power as Reza Shah Pahlavi.

Into this family of illiterate shepherds is born Bahram, a boy whose brilliance and intellectual promise are apparent from a very young age. Through his education, Bahram will become a fervent follower of reformer Mohammad Mosaddegh and will participate first-hand in his country’s political and social upheavals.


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‘Reading The Gardens of Consolation feels like being on a flying carpet with your grandmother and listening to her telling you, in a nonchalant dreamy tone, a bedtime story about once upon a time in a fantasy world. It is magical, sometimes shocking and sometimes familiar. It dramatizes some details and disregards others, lingers on little moments and skips large spans of time, letting this family of three take you into the historical trajectory of a society undergoing rapid, vast changes—economically, politically, socially, and personally; domestically and internationally’, World Literature Today.