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The Age of Orphans

About the Book

The Age of Orphans

The boy wants nothing more than his maman’s lap and a view of the birds that soar over his Kurdish village. Nameless, impressionable, and watchful, the boy soon becomes a man in a mountaintop ritual with his baba, uncles, and cousins. And as a man, he must join the male villagers when they march to war against the shah’s army. But the Kurds, fierce protectors of their homeland against centuries of invasion, fall to the shah; the boy’s father is massacred before his eyes. As the only survivor, adopted by the very soldiers that murdered his father, the boy begins a new life as Reza Pejman Khourdi --- conscripted soldier for the new Iran.

Ten years later, in Tehran, Reza is notorious within the Iranian army for his cruelty against Kurds, so-called rebels who fight against an Iran they cannot believe in. Promoted to captain, Reza is ordered to find a Tehrani bride and move back to Kermanshah, his homeland, to enforce the shah’s rule. Reza tells no one he is a Kurd, suppressing all memories of his maman’s tenderness and his baba’s bravery. He weds Meena, secretly hoping to banish his orphan loneliness in her genteel breeding. But Meena has other ideas: when she sets foot in Kermanshah, she is horrified by the lot of a captain’s wife, living among Kurds who look suspiciously like her husband. Reza and Meena fight savagely for dominance --- over each other, over the Kurdish villagers, and over the mountainous land itself.

Poetic in its dark beauty, The Age of Orphans casts the clash between tradition and modernity in a new light --- as a doomed war within one orphan’s psyche.

The Age of Orphans
by Laleh Khadivi

  • Publication Date: March 2, 2010
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • ISBN-10: 1608190420
  • ISBN-13: 9781608190423