This book is set in Iran just before the revolution. Pasha is a seventeen year old who spends his evenings on his rooftop joking around with Ahmed, his best friend. They discuss school, their futures and Ahmed's love. But Pasha has a burdensome secret. He has fallen in love with his beautiful next door neighbor, Zari. He watches from a distance falling more and more under her spell.
Zari is betrothed to a young medical student, Doctor, who is an activist. Pasha feels the guilt and keeps his love a secret even from his best friend. Zari and Pasha's friendship grows and Pasha finds himself liking her betrothed and feeling more and more guilty about his feelings for her.
Then one evening reality comes crashing in. Pasha unwittingly shows the secret police their quarry, Zari's betrothed. Pasha feels even more guilt as it is him that led the secret police to him. The Shah is a powerful despot and his secret police are everywhere. Now Pasha and Ahmed are potential targets of the secret police.
Unlike North Americans, Persians show all of their emotions from anger and distress to laughter and love. This novel shows the emotions of young love and the brutality of living under the Shah's regime. I found this book to be full of information about the pre-revolution days in Iran and loved the story about the thwarting of two young loves.
First Line: "I hear someone's voice chanting, and the repetitive verses lap like water at the edge of my consciousness. "
Rooftops of Tehran at Chapters