Sunday, August 2, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: "Caspian Rain"

Caspian Rain
By Gina B. Nahai
Copyright 2007
Macadam Cage Publisher
Adult Fiction

Let me just start out by saying this is the best book I have read so far this year. Caspian Rain begins by painting a picture of a young schoolgirl walking along the streets “in a city with blue mountains”, dreaming of better luck and a better life, “once upon a time in a land of miracles”.

In reality, the girl is an Iranian Jew, trapped in a land of class warfare, in a world where she exists at the bottom of the totem pole. But when her “miracle” appears and offers to pull her up out of the ghettos of her childhood, she thinks her luck has finally come. To the contrary, though, this turn of events ends up turning her world upside-down.

Caspian Rain is narrated by Yaas, the daughter of this unfortunate schoolgirl. Yaas takes us through the ups and downs of being a Jew in a land where Islam rules, a world where parents can prevent the divorce of their adult children, where extra-marital affairs are accepted and almost expected, where women have no rights, no rule, and no life of their own.

The author introduces us to such diverse characters as Chamedooni, a snake-oil salesman with a proclivity for cutting the hair off of girls in the morgue; the “ghost brother”, who rides his bike silently on the streets, ever searching for his path to heaven; and Niyaz, the high-class harlot who threatens them all. All these characters step in and out of the lives of Yaas and her parents as they struggle to accept their lot in life, and fight to create an illusion of being better than what they were born to be. The tragedy is that, in the end, no one can fool the world enough that it will ignore your fate.

I felt such a sense of sorrow for the characters in this tale; being so helpless to create a better world for themselves, and yet always always holding out hope that things will get better. The world we see in Caspian Rain is painful; a simple and beautifully tragic story to give us all a reason to appreciate what we have been given in our own lives. Exceptional!

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