4 out of 4 stars
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Do you like short stories? Do you want to truly experience the emotions that the characters endure? If the answer is yes, then The Buried Secrets of Peonies by Mernegar Dorgoly is for you. This is a collection of short stories.
I picked up this book and saw that there were only 45 pages! I thought that the stories must be short without much plot development or significant content. In doing this, I made the mistake of underestimating this book. Do not do the same as I, in thinking that 45 pages are not enough to evoke strong emotions, trigger our own insecurities, sense of injustice or despair.
The stories in this book are set in the post-revolution time in Iran. Not only are we transported to a different culture, but we are also transported into a continued sense of unrest and injustice after the revolution. The book starts by introducing the author as a young woman who starts to uncover family secrets and expose family trauma in a way which, even she, was unlikely to have anticipated. The short stories have themes which include; the loss of hope experienced from a prison cell, the strong feeling of love and loss, feeling the ruthlessness of the human species and realization of one’s frailty and helplessness experienced living in a country which was so prosperous.
My main criticism for this book is that I did not feel that I was quite ready for how heartfelt and sad some of these stories are. I was looking for a book which would suit for me to read at bedtime, and I was not ready for such an emotive set of short stories. However, I do note that this could just have been my interpretation of the summary offered on Online Book Club. I also note that there were some spelling and grammatical errors, however, this did not detract from the storylines or make the book seem like it was poor quality.
I cannot speak highly enough of the themes and style of this book and I rate this is a four out of four. Each short story was so well written, concise and engaging by leaving much to the imagination. After each story, I found that I was dissociating and becoming lost in my own thoughts about how I would feel and cope, in these situations. The range of stories in this book had a lasting impression on me, and I found myself thinking about it for a long time after reading. I would recommend this book to adults in their 30s of either gender, as I think that people need some life experience to fully understand the implication of the themes.
The Buried Secrets of Peonies
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