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Aria    by Nassim Assefi order for
by Nassim Assefi
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

American born Jasmine Talahi is a successful Seattle oncologist, but to her parents she is an ungrateful daughter who has brought disgrace to her family, her religion, and her Iranian heritage. She has chosen to have a baby out of wedlock while living with the child's father. When he is killed before they can wed, her parents still refuse to forgive her and she raises her daughter alone.

The story begins when Aria Talahi Avery dies at age five in a car accident. Jasmine is numb with grief. Her story is told in letters to friends and family, and her deceased daughter and lover, as Jasmine moves from place to place in search of comfort, spirituality, and atonement while reliving her memories.

Her world-wide travels take her to the Arizona desert, to Guatemala, China, Tibet and finally to Iran. When she allows her Iranian heritage to heal her, she becomes ready to forgive her parents for abandoning her, and they are able to allow her back into their lives. In Aria, Nassim Assefi, a second generation Iranian-American, has written a moving novel that readers won't soon forget.

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