Song of a Captive Bird: A Novel

Jasmin Darznik

Ballantine Books, 2018

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing 1960s poet Forugh Farrokzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice, and love--inspiring generations of women to come.

Whether gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother's walled garden, or sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glace, Forugh Farrokzhad had always rebelled. Though Iran was Westernizing in the 1940s, during Forugh's childhood, most of the country still believed that women were not to be heard from. Yet, at age eleven, young Forugh began writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father--and a passion for words lodged deeply within her. When she ended up in an arranged marriage at sixteen, she ran away, leaving behind her new husband and infant son. She fell into a passionate affair that only increased her creative wingspan, leading her to explore the meaning of captivity and exile.

Upon publication, her poems were considered both scandalous and brilliant; Forugh was at once a national treasure and the devil herself. She persevered, living life by her own rules, but at the cost of love, friendship, and eventually her own life, cut tragically short at the age of 32, amid the violent upheaval of the budding Iranian revolution. 

In subsequent years, Forugh's poetry was banned, the presses that printed her work burned to the ground, and citizens forced to hide away their treasured collections of her verses. To this day, Forugh Farrokhzad represents the birth of feminism in Iran, and Jasmin Darznik uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and ecstatic turmoil of this iconic woman.