Little Mehrnousch and her three siblings, children of a surgeon, have a privileged childhood in the lovely city of Isfahan in Iran in the 70s. Like most others, the family celebrates the eviction of the Shah as a fortunate event—little do they expect that the new ruler Ayatollah Chomeini would establish a despotic rule and rob them of their freedom in no time at all.
Bewildered with fear and anger, Mehrnousch experiences how the oppression begins to find its way into all areas of life. When her 14-year-old brother is in danger of being sent into war, the family flees via Istanbul and East Berlin to West Germany. They begin an odyssey through refugee hostels, a constant up and down between hope and despair until the family at last finds a new home in Heidelberg.
Mehrnousch Zaeri-Esfahani narrates the story of her life with poetic power. She tells of the beauty of Isfahan and happy family life, of the torment of the dictatorship, of the sad, but sometimes also cheerful experiences during these years. Of the feeling of speech– and homelessness and the joy of arrival.
by Mehrnousch Zaeri-Esfahani
“A testimonial and parable at the same time. An outstanding novel that will persist.” – NZZ am Sonntag, Christine Knödler
“The author very touchingly tells of parting, loss and despair—consistently from the child’s point of view.” –Süddeutsche Zeitung
“This is a timely as well as timeless perspective on the refugee experience which readers will want to recommend over and over again. Zaeri-Esfahani’s book will appeal to thoughtful young readers as well as adults and has the potential to become a classic in the mode of Judith Kerr or Esther Hautzig.” – new books in german
- Winner of the LUCHS Award 2016
- 7 Best Books for Young Readers – April 2016
Peter Hammer Verlag | hc | 148 pp | Jan 2016 | 12+
Rights sold: Arabic, German paperback
[original title: 33 Bogen und ein Teehaus]