THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN de Parnaz Foroutan

If your child is your legacy, who are you without one? What story will you leave behind?
A wrenching and heartfelt debut novel

by Parnaz Foroutan
Ecco, Fall 2015

Set in the Iranian town of Kermanshah at the turn of the twentieth century, THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN is the intimate, poetic, and brutal story of a young woman beholden to the schemes and strictures of a male world. In a cloistered household of wealthy Jewish merchants, at a time when a woman’s worth is measured only by the number of male heirs she can produce, Rakhel, a barren young bride, must do the impossible: produce a son and satisfy her husband Asher’s wild desire for preeminence. Their struggle slowly rends their family asunder, dividing Asher from his family and breaking the delicate bonds between the women of the house, which have grown like flowers in a garden as they battle impossible odds to save Rakhel and her place in the household.

THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN’s lyrical prose and heartbreaking evocation of female struggle in a forgotten time and place is reminiscent of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, but it is not just a novel about women. It is a story of Iran, of a lost cultural moment and identity that flourished before the wars and the reign of the shahs. And it is a story about family—about the things that draw us closer and perhaps inevitably push us apart.

Parnaz Foroutan was born in Iran and spent her early childhood there. This novel, for which she received PEN USA’s Emerging Voices fellowship, was inspired by her family history. She has been named to the Hedgebrook Fellowship and residency, and has received funding from the Elizabeth George Foundation, among other institutions. Writers like Holly Morris, Gloria Steinem, and Carolyn Forche have reviewed her work with praise and hold the project in high esteem.

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