I do, however, want to write up a review now. I usually like to wait till I have two, but I'm worried I'll "lose" my thoughts, especially since my current read is a bit complex with shifting time periods and focal characters that all overlap/interrelate (is that a word?). I am enjoying it, but the prior book definitely deserves not to be lost...
- Things We Left Unsaid by Zoya Pirzad
I greatly enjoyed this book. In many ways, the basic story of a woman questioning her life, a life she's just lived for many years as a wife and mother without really examining her own satisfaction, could be set anywhere. However, the culture definitely runs throughout and I enjoyed the glimpses into a different society. The Armenians in Iran are very much a subculture and they generally only interact within their own community. The community in the book is also very much built around the oil company, it is a more institutionalized version of the company towns we see in the U.S. with housing and transport built for workers and with different neighborhoods for workers and management (again, something seen in many U.S. towns). It isn't a major focal point, but there are hints of politics such as when Clarisse wanders into a speech about women's rights (she's drawn to it but also very uncomfortable) and her concerns that her husband's political interests might be dangerous.
Through a good portion of the book, it was a hinting at being a 5 star read for me. As it progressed, I got a bit frustrated with Clarisse and I felt like I couldn't really relate to her sudden discontent. I felt like she was a bit dramatic at times, almost acting like things were tragic. I don't want to spell out more detail since it might be spoiler-ish and think the disconnect may be due to cultural/temporal differences. Despite that issue, I very much enjoyed the book and give it 4.5...rounding down just b/c I'm stingy with putting 5. I enjoyed the writing voice, though I never know how much of that to attribute to a writer and how much a translator influenced a book that originated in another language.
FYI -- There is a useful appendix in the version I have that explains some elements such as public figures, cultural observations, and even foods that an American reader might not recognize. I found it helpful to actually read through this section all at once (stumbled upon it when I looked to see how many pages were in the novel, an odd habit of mine) and then consulted it a couple of times as I read.