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Rachel-K
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Perspective

The story is told from the points of view of the four family members. How does this affect your experience as a reader?

Is there a character you are anxious to get back to, or that you are uncomfortable with? Do you identify with one more than others?

Does this shifting perspective also lead you to imagine the perspectives of other characters? Habibeh, Zalman Mendelson, even Moshen, Isaac's guard?
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Fozzie
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Re: Perspective

I like it when a story is told from more than one perspective. It enables the reader to see the situation that the characters are in three dimensionally, so to speak. The reader is able to read how events affect each character, and, more importantly, what each character is thinking.

Many of the scenes with Isaac in prison were emotionally difficult to read. Consequently, I was glad to be able to switch to another character after reading his chapters.

Having never been in prison, or sent away from home at a young age, I would say that I identify most with Farnaz. However, I find it hard to imagine what my life would be like after my husband's imprisonment. While Dalia did a great job explaining what Farnaz was thinking, doing, and feeling, I believe the situation was so dire that I could not really understand it unless I had experienced it.

I think while reading a book, the reader automatically thinks about what the minor characters are thinking, even if he doesn't hear from them directly. Dalia provided enough information, so, yes, I did find myself imagining the perspectives of the other characters.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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IBIS
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Re: Perspective

[ Edited ]
I liked the variety of the multiple points of views, especially since there are multiple major settings in the story.

I was gripped by the unfairness and horror of Isaac's imprisonment, sympathized with Farnaz's confusion and anxiety, and fell in love with sweet little Shirin.

The character for whom I felt most deeply was Parviz. Alone in a strange land. Feeling utterly lost and alone -- in Brooklyn. I was a student there and lived a hand-to-mouth student's existence.

I understood this exactly: (p. 37) "The university campus is strewn with students....but not one has a familiar face. Friendship once came naturally to him... His mutation had been insidious, creeping up on him...His proper English... is good enough for classes but not for intimacy. And his jokes, when translated are no longer funny. The world is going on without me, he tells himself."

Here was a young man that I wanted to stay with, and wish him well.

Message Edited by IBIS on 10-01-2007 02:52 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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DaliaSofer
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Registered: ‎09-18-2007
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Re: Perspective

I’m glad that you found the various points of view effective. I think I was drawn to this technique because I’ve always believed that no two people experience the same event in the same way. Telling the story like this also allowed me to emphasize each of the family members’ sense of isolation and emotional imprisonment. The idea behind it was this: that they love and care for each other, but they just don’t know how to communicate with one another.

I’m very much drawn to the idea of longing for connection—but failing. In the book, Isaac craves his father’s affection, Parviz longs for friendship and love, Farnaz populates her world with objects because they remind her of past, fleeting connections, Shirin holds on to a crumbling, even dangerous friendship. Conversations and letters are peppered with codes and indirect statements, phone calls are interrupted by bad connections. In the end, much remains unsaid.


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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Perspective



IBIS wrote:
I liked the variety of the multiple points of views, especially since there are multiple major settings in the story.

I was gripped by the unfairness and horror of Isaac's imprisonment, sympathized with Farnaz's confusion and anxiety, and fell in love with sweet little Shirin.

The character for whom I felt most deeply was Parviz. Alone in a strange land. Feeling utterly lost and alone -- in Brooklyn. I was a student there and lived a hand-to-mouth student's existence.

I understood this exactly: (p. 37) "The university campus is strewn with students....but not one has a familiar face. Friendship once came naturally to him... His mutation had been insidious, creeping up on him...His proper English... is good enough for classes but not for intimacy. And his jokes, when translated are no longer funny. The world is going on without me, he tells himself."

Here was a young man that I wanted to stay with, and wish him well.

Message Edited by IBIS on 10-01-2007 02:52 PM




I also loved that particular passage about Parviz, about the impossibility of finding intimacy "in translation." And Shrin has to be my favorite, I think. How innocently she seems to accept responsibility for the whole world.
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Fozzie
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Perspective



DaliaSofer wrote:
Telling the story like this also allowed me to emphasize each of the family members’ sense of isolation and emotional imprisonment. The idea behind it was this: that they love and care for each other, but they just don’t know how to communicate with one another.



You succeeded in what you set out to do. The isolation each character felt was palpable. It was difficult to feel each wanting to reach out to the others, coming so close, then failing to do so. I kept wanting to give them a nudge.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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