BKMT READING GUIDES

Love and War in the Jewish Quarter
by Dora Mossanen Levy

Published: 2022-11-08T00:0
Hardcover : 288 pages
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A breathtaking journey across Iran where war and superstition, jealousy and betrayal, and passion and loyalty rage behind the impenetrable walls of mansions and the crumbling houses of the Jewish Quarter.

Against the tumultuous background of World War II, Dr. Yaran will find himself ...

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Introduction

A breathtaking journey across Iran where war and superstition, jealousy and betrayal, and passion and loyalty rage behind the impenetrable walls of mansions and the crumbling houses of the Jewish Quarter.

Against the tumultuous background of World War II, Dr. Yaran will find himself caught in the thrall of the anti-Semitic Governor General, the most powerful man in the country. Dr. Yaran falls in love with the Governor General’s defiant wife, Velvet, upending not only the life of the doctor’s beloved daughter, but the entire community. In his quest to save everything and everyone he loves, Dr. Yaran will navigate the intersections of magic, science, lust, and treachery. His sole ally is the Governor General’s servant, an exotic eunuch, who will do anything to aid his mistress in her dangerous quest to attain forbidden love.

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Excerpt

Chapter One
Tehran, Iran
1941
Pride and fear travel fast in the Jewish Quarter, where everyone’s nose is in someone else’s business, and gossip gets trapped in the low-roofed shacks and blind alleys.
Dr. Soleiman Yaran is on his way to see Her Majesty, Queen Fawzia Pahlavi.
Men with skullcaps on their heads and prayers on their lips, ululating women with festive clothes and colorful scarves, bankers and merchants, butchers and fruit vendors, the shah’s Water Man and the Quarter Fool, the rabbis, and the Quarter Whore with her bleached hair and rhinestone-studded slippers are out to wish their beloved doctor a safe journey and a safe return. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Discuss the nature of Soleiman and Velvet’s love. Do you think that the outcome of their love would have differed had they had the same religion or had lived in a different culture?
2. The relationship between the Governor General and Tulip is nuanced and complicated. Discuss in what ways and how.
3. Neda experiences life altering psychological trauma. Discuss whether the blame rests on Soleiman, on Aunt Shamsi, or on other events in her young life.
4. What surprised you most about this book and its characters? And were you surprised about the important role Iran played in defeating Hitler during World War II?
5. Were you surprised with Soleiman’s decision at the end? Discuss why he decided to disregard his own feelings and do what he did. Do you agree or disagree with him?

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