|Allen & Unwin|
4 April 2013
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
Post-revolutionary Iran in the 1980s is not a place to be taken lightly, and as eleven year old Saba Hafezi tries to come to terms with devastating loss, she finds reassurance in contraband copies of western books and music. Living alone with her father, Saba struggles with the limited choices that are open to her, but with remarkable spirit and a refusal to conform she learns how to draw a protective shield of make- believe around the limitations of her life.
At times A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea is a difficult book to read, but Dina Nayeri has written a narrative of such convincing honesty that only someone who is intimately familiar with this way of life could have written with spellbinding accuracy about a regime which treated its women as commodities to be bartered and sold. And even as you rail against the politics which keep women very firmly in their place, there is much comfort to be found in the warmth of shared friendship and a sense of sisterhood pervades even in the darkest of circumstances.
Rich in the tradition of Eastern storytelling, the story unfolds so softly, that even as you gather the chador closely around you, and with the scent of opium and hashish lingering in the air, you can sense the shadows of the bold and courageous women who simply tried to make their voices heard, and even as their bravery leaves an indelible stain on your heart, you remember that “A beautiful girl always manages to break some rule.”
My thanks to Lovereading.co.uk for a review copy of this book.