Book Review: Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik



3.5 disco balls

Expected publication: February 13, 2018 by Ballantine Books
Pre-order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Category: Historical Fiction, Cultural

In Song of a Captive Bird (a beautiful and perfect title), author Jasmin Darznik is the voice for Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. Forugh – an influential poet of the 20th century – was notorious for rebelling against cultural norms, especially in her work.

Forugh’s accomplishments come at the expense of her reputation and family life. In her thirty-two years she has been through so much pain; all she wanted was to be loved for who she was. Darznik captures that and uses her own words to bring that love to Forugh.

Without giving away too many details of Forugh’s story – one worth reading – you will meet Forugh as a teenager where a traumatic event will affect her future marriage and lead Forugh to crave another life: one away from being the obeying daughter/wife to one where she is free and independent and her voice is heard. Decisions she will make lead her to live a lonely life (a sacrifice for independence) where her work will be her saving grace. Her work and her being will be exploited by men as a way to try and silence her or gain from her popularity, and she would forever live in the shadow of her reputation. Still she pours herself into her work, not allowing her voice to be silenced.

Forugh’s writing and film making were influential. Her art was honest and raw; it touched upon taboo subjects without apologies. She wrote in a woman’s voice in a male dominated space and lent her voice to those who were silenced. No matter what happened to her, or how she was treated, she never gave up on her talent: it was who she was and would always be her first priority.

The book is inspired by Forugh’s story and a work of fiction. But, it was written in first person which was interesting to me: I often felt as if I was reading a memoir and had to remind myself that certain story lines and characters may not have been true.

It took me a bit longer than my regular reading pace as I had a bit of a slow start, but I wanted to know more of Forugh’s story and kept going: I felt like I owed it to her to keep reading on.

“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh Farrokhzad


I received an arc of this book from NetGalley for my honest review.

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