Reading Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree transports readers to post-Revolution Iran, but one that is populated by ghosts, jinns, mermaids, and other mythological creatures alongside humans. It is a world rooted in reality, but also wistful for what might have been—a world where political violence is avenged by ghosts of the slain; a world where a family torn apart by a tyrannical government is able to reunite in mystical ways. There are echoes of García Márquez, Calvino, Kafka, and classical Persian poetry—Azar's love and osmosis of literature is apparent. Surreal, sublime, and transcendent, this book will pull you in and expand your sense of the world: lifting you up to the heights of the greengage tree to look down at Earth and its beauty and horror in the vast expanse of the universe.— Hannah DeCamp
LONGLISTED for the 2021 PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE
LONGLISTED for the 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for Translated Literature
FINALIST for the 2020 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE
From the pen of one of Iran's rising literary stars, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a family story about the unbreakable connection between the living and the dead.
Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this moving, richly imagined novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a thirteen-year-old girl, whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across their ancient land. Bahar's mother, after a tragic loss, will embark on a long, eventful journey in search of meaning in a world swept up in the post-revolutionary madness.
Told from the wise yet innocent gaze of a young girl, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of trauma through the ritual of storytelling itself. Through her unforgettable characters, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime.