The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan
A suspenseful debut novel of desire, obsession, power, and vulnerability, in which a crisis of inheritance leads to the downfall of a wealthy family of Persian Jews in early twentieth-century Iran
For all his wealth and success, Asher Malacouti—the head of a prosperous Jewish family living in the Iranian town of Kermanshah—cannot have the one thing he desires above all: a son. His young wife, Rakhel, trapped in an oppressive marriage at a time when a woman’s worth is measured by her fertility, is made desperate by her failure to conceive, and grows jealous and vindictive.
Rakhel’s despair is compounded by the pregnancy of her sister-in-law, Khorsheed, and by her husband’s growing desire for Kokab, his cousin’s wife. Frustrated by his own wife’s inability to bear him an heir, Asher makes a fateful choice that will shatter the household and drive Rakhel to dark extremes to save herself and preserve her status within the family.
Witnessed through the memories of the family’s sole surviving daughter, Mahboubeh, now an elderly woman living in Los Angeles, The Girl from the Garden unfolds the complex, tragic history of the Malacouti family in a long-lost Iran of generations past. Haunting, suspenseful, and inspired by events in the author’s own family, it is an evocative and poignant exploration of sacrifice, betrayal, and the indelible legacy of the families that forge us.