10-09-2007 11:47 PM
My initial reaction to a new character always was: is this friend or foe? My anxiety radar would shoot into high alert.
HABIBEH, the housekeeper. Both Shirin and Farnaz suspect her of stealing the sapphire ring and the silver teapot. And at some point, we suspect that she may have been the one to betray Isaac. Although I learn at the end that she is innocent, I spent 3/4 of the book dreading her appearance.
MOHSEN, the inquisitor-jailer who delights in torturing prisoners. (p. 62) "He grabs Isaac's hand and turns it around, burning his palm with the cigarette...'You're nothing! You hear me?' He stops, brings another cigarette to his mouth and lights it, rips open Isaac's shirt and presses the cigarettte on his chest."
MORTEZA, his office assistant, who looted Isaac's office after Isaac is imprisoned. (p.286) He demands Isaac's perfect white diamond. When Isaac refuses, he threatens blackmail: "Stubborn Jew! Bargaining all the way to your grave. I want the diamond, or this little piece of paper will be sent to the office of Imam Khomeini."
There is a slew of others: the people who will smuggle the family to safety. It was a relief when they proved to be honest; Leila's father who hides files of people who are betrayed, and who will soon be persecuted.
"I am a part of everything that I have read."
10-10-2007 02:15 PM
IBIS, thanks for bringing this up. I, too, thought there were a lot of characters who made me feel uncomfortable. What's odd is that while I sometimes felt uncomfortable with some characters, wondering if they could be trusted, I also found myself liking them and hoping they really were good people.
Two examples are Leila, the friend of Shirin, and Hossein, the helpful guard in the prison.
I think Leila was a good friend to Shirin. The mean and scary things she said seemed to be what she heard at home from her father, not necessarily what her views were. After all, she did suspect Shirin of taking the files, but never told her father.
Hossein was a guard with a conscious. He did his job, but did try to provide the prisoners with dignity.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
12-02-2007 06:56 AM
03-14-2008 09:56 PM