Thoughts on: Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani

June 13, 2012

About:
Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani is a fictional book taking place in 16th Century Iran. The story blends a mix of historical and fictional characters to create an intriguing novel.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the Raf­fle­copter form at the end of the post to enter.

  • 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451660464

Book Review: Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani

My rat­ing for Equal of the Sun4

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

More Books by Anita Amirrezvani

Thoughts:
I have never heard of Iranian princess Pari Khan Khanoom so I was thrilled to read Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani as my introduction to this fascinating woman.  The book’s fascinating descriptions of Persian traditions and culture is its biggest strength and most captivating aspect. The parts which looked into court life, palace intrigue and royal family politics were especially appealing.

Most of the book focuses on how the cultural conventions pertain to the women in the court. The story is told through the eyes of Javaher, a eunuch (by choice!) who is working for Princess Pari. Some of the graphic aspects of the story made me, as a man, feel very uncomfortable including a graphic description of the castration procedure which gives me shivers to this day.

Today’s Arabic language has a very interesting sociolinguistic situation called diglossia, the use of two distinct flavors of the same language. Arabic has the Classical variety which is used in writing and the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) used in everyday conversations.  From the first page, the book reminded me of Classical Arabic with its fanciful prose, ornate language and dazzling descriptions. Such style could easily be misconstrued as high-brow but in this instance, with the understanding of culture and language, it works.

I did enjoy reading the book, the story was good but I would have liked it if the author would have stuck more to the historical and cultural aspects of the story instead of weaving in a mystery. However, the flowery language and gorgeous narrative had me appreciate the novel from the first page.

So tell me, when reading a book do you keep in mind the culture within when it comes to prose?

Synopsis:
when the Shah of Iran dies, his court is thrown into a turmoil. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter, knows more about the affairs of the state than any other palace dweller. Together with her closest advisor, the eunuch Javaher, Pari tries to wield power from her golden cage.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

More Books by Anita Amirrezvani

Give­away

  • Give­away ends: June 20, 2012

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: rtw_author@

TLC Book Tour for Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani:

Monday, June 4th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, June 6th:  Confessions of an Avid Reader
Wednesday, June 6th:  Historical-Fiction.com  Book Highlight
Thursday, June 7th:  Broken Teepee
Monday, June 11th:  Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, June 12th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, June 13th:  Man of La Book
Thursday, June 14th:  A Bookish Affair
Friday, June 15th:  Book Chase
Monday, June 18th:  Lit and Life
Tuesday, June 19th:  Bibliosue
Wednesday, June 20th:  The Book Garden
Monday, June 25th:  Col Reads
Tuesday, June 26th:  Bippity Boppity Book
Wednesday, June 27th:  Historical Tapestry
Thursday, June 28th:  Enchanted by Josephine.
Friday, June 29th:  Twisting the Lens
Monday, July 2nd:  Scandalous Women
TBD:  Royal Reviews

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer
: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours

BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read Equal of the Sun? If so link up your review below:

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14 Comments

  • rhonda June 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Have been reading about this book looking toward to reading it.

  • Heather June 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

    It depends on the book and what kind of story it is. I have read a couple historical fiction novels in which the fictional part of the book didn’t seem to “fit” with the nonfictional parts. That can be annoying. This sounds like a good book–I’m adding it to my wish list.

  • Ryan June 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I wish this had been a non fiction book, I think I would have enjoyed it more than I did. After reading your review, I’m wondering if it was the mystery with the eunuch’s father that threw me off. I just felt as if the whole thing was too sterile.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Ryan, I could have done without the mystery as well. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book.

  • SarahRTW June 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. I think paying attention to the cultural and historic background is important; however, the degree to which they matter depends on the type of novel. One that is mean as cultural or historic needs more attention and detail on those elements than one where the setting is simple the backdrop (such as a ‘costume drama’ type romance).

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thanks for the comment Sarah.
      I think that when an author is writing a historical novel (not a novel which takes place in the past), it is important to get the details/timelines right otherwise, for me, it disrupts the story.

  • Margie June 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I always enjoy books set in another culture. This one sounds fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  • Hira Hasnain (Enamored Soul) June 14, 2012 at 3:02 am

    How in the WORLD is it, Zohar, that you find the MOST interesting books in the world to read, and then share with us? This sounds like an infinitely intriguing book – and I absolutely love that it is historical fiction.

    And yes, I always keep in mind the “frame of mind” of the author, or the atmosphere/culture in which the narrative takes place – not being able to do that detracts from the true enjoyment that you can derive from a book/novel.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Thanks for the comment Hira.
      In some novels, as in this one, I think that the narrative and the location compliment one another but that’s maybe because I have prior understanding.

  • Maya M. June 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Did they really speak in Arabic in the story? Because Persian (or Farsi, as it is said in Persian itself) is a completely separate language and Persian people consider themselves as completely separate people from Arabs.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 15, 2012 at 7:40 am

      They speak Persian in the story and I agree that they are separate. I was just making a point about the floral way the narrative is written.

      You are right and I didn’t think of that.

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours June 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    It sounds like this one is worth reading simply for the gorgeous language!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • Anita Yancey June 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for having the giveaway.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  • Suzanne June 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’m not a guy and I found the castration scene cringe-inducing!

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