It is the 1950s in a restless Iran, a country powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious devices. One night, a young man named Behrouz, a humble driver in the army, is walking home through a neighborhood in Tehran when he hears a pitiful cry. Curious, he searches for the source, and to his horror comes upon a new-born baby encircled by ravenous dogs. He snatches up the child and forever alters his own destiny and that of the little girl, whom he names Aria.
Nazanine Hozar’s extraordinary debut takes us inside the Iranian revolution as seen through the eyes of an orphan. We meet three very different women who are fated to mother the lost child: reckless and self-absorbed Zahra, wife of a kind-hearted Behrouz; wealthy and compassionate Fereshteh, who welcomes Aria into her home, adopting her as an heir; and finally, mysterious, impoverished Mehri, whose connection to Aria is both a blessing and a burden. The novel’s heart-pounding final act, kaleidoscopic and explosive, leads us through Tehran in 1979 as the Shah is banished and Ayatollah Khomeini installed as Iran’s supreme leader – even as Aria falls in love and becomes a young mother herself.