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Setting & Genre

Genre

Fiction

Sub-genre:

Historical Fiction

Iran/Persian culture

Muslim religion

Setting

Set against the backdrop of a politically divided 1960's Iran under rule of the Shah, "Sky of Red Poppies" is a novel about culture, politics and the redeeming power of friendships. Roya, the daughter of a prominent family, is envious of the fierce independence of her religious classmate Shireen. But Shireen has secrets of her own. Together, Roya and Shireen contend with becoming the women they want to be and, in doing so, make decisions that will cause their tragic undoing..

Background Information

The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution.

Demonstrations against the Shah commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign of civil resistance that was partly secular and partly religious, and intensified in January 1978. Between August and December 1978 strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile in mid-January 1979, and in the resulting power vacuum two weeks later Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal regime collapsed shortly after on February 11 when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting. Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, and to approve a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979.

Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located 850 kilometres (530 mi) east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Shah is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia, and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".

The Little Black Fish is a story told through the voice of an old fish speaking to her 12,000 children and grandchildren. She describes the journey of a small black fish who leaves the safety of the local stream to venture into the world. The path of the little fish leads down a waterfall and along the length of the river to the sea. Along the way the fish meets several interesting characters, including a helpful lizard and the dreaded pelican. With both wisdom and courage, the fish travels far indeed, and the tale ends with the little black fish as an example for others. The book was widely considered to be a political allegory, and was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran (prior to the 1978 revolution) by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's regime.

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