Category: Book
By (author): Hozar, Nazanine
Subject:  FICTION / Canadian
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Sagas
Awards: BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (2020) Short-listed
Amazon Canada First Novel Award (2020) Short-listed
Publisher: Knopf Random Vintage Canada
Published: June 2021
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 448
Size: 8.00in x 5.18in
Our Price:
$ 19.95
In stock

Additional Notes


An extraordinary, cinematic saga of rags to riches to revolution that follows an orphan girl coming of age in Iran at a time of dramatic upheaval

It is the 1950s in a restless Iran, a country rich in oil but deeply divided by class and religion. The government is unpopular and corrupt and under foreign sway. One night, an illiterate army driver hears the pitiful cry of a baby abandoned in an alley and menaced by ravenous wild dogs. He snatches up the child and takes her home, naming her Aria--the first step on an unlikely path from deprivation to privilege. Over the next two decades, the orphan girl acquires three mother figures whose secrets she will learn only much later: reckless and self-absorbed Zahra, who abuses her; wealthy and compassionate Fereshteh, who adopts her; and mysterious Mehri, whose connection to Aria is both a blessing and a burden.

A university education opens a new world to Aria, and she is soon caught up in the excitement and danger of the popular uprising against the Shah that sweeps through the streets of Tehran. The novel's heart-pounding, explosive finale sees the Ayatollah Khomeini's brutal regime seize power--even as Aria falls in love and becomes a mother herself.

Nazanine Hozar's stunning debut gives us an unusually intimate view of a momentous time, through the eyes of a young woman coming to terms with the mysteries of her own past and future.

Shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award

One of Chatelaine's "Best Books for Summer Reading" [2019]
One of The Globe and Mail's "Four debuts to watch" [April 20, 2019]
One of The Globe and Mail's "37 spring books to dive into" [April 2019]
One of CBC Books's "28 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in spring 2019"

"Aria is a feminist odyssey, about a girl in a time of intolerance as the revolution in Iran is breaking out . . . a poised and dramatic historical novel with contemporary relevance." -John Irving
"Here comes a sweeping saga about the Iranian revolution as it explodes-told from the ground level and the centre of chaos. A Doctor Zhivago of Iran." -Margaret Atwood (on Twitter)
"A beautiful book set against the pains and passions of the Iranian Revolution. It is so compellingly realised, and its characters and events so intimately portrayed, that one feels, while reading it, Iranian, which is to say it is a book about a particular time and place yet also, and perhaps more importantly, about the common hopes and intimate longings of lives so forcibly invaded by national events." -Hisham Matar

"The summer's must-read book. . . . [W]hile it is a historical novel set around the Islamic Revolution, it is also very much about personal relationships-their power to destroy, and their potential to be destroyed by political events." -Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

"[An] epic journey. . . . Hozar . . . captures the sweep of Iran's political history." -Chatelaine
"To Hozar's considerable credit, the characters feel complex and naturally developed; they have the vitality of living people. . . . Aria is, at its heart, a story not about a place, or about historical events, but about the human need to belong." -Robert Wiersema, Toronto Star
"Hozar has a cinematic style to her writing that keeps it very visual." -Vancouver Sun
"A sweeping tale of perseverance and the strength of the human, especially female, spirit." -The Source
Biographical NoteNAZANINE HOZAR was born in Tehran, Iran, and lives in British Columbia, Canada. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Vancouver Observer and Prairie Fire magazine.