Jan 2022 - The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree -Shokoofeh Azar

Title - The Enlightenment Of The Greengage Tree

Author - Shokoofeh  Azar

Book Group 1 - Meeting - January 28th 2022


The Enlightenment Of The Greengage Tree, is a book written with 'magic realism' as the main writing genre. The book had been originally written in Persian and has been translated by an undisclosed translator.

The author wants the reader to understand the political landscape of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and post the revolution, thus for the safety of the translator, no identity has been revealed. 


Right from the onset of the book, the author Shokoofeh Azar, jumps into her chosen subject, taking the help of ‘magic realism’ and starts uncovering the different occurrences, practices and vivid aspects, she would have witnessed or knew existed, at that time in Iran. She uses folklore, fantasy and imagination in her writing, depicting stories and rituals with jinns and ghosts throughout the book. For instance the burying of the children with golden bells tied to their ankles so they do not get lost. She designs the fabric of her writing, listing out the aspects she wants to in a brief manner and leaves a lot of room for the reader to imagine. Very interestingly she leaves loose ends in places and leaves many aspects of her writing intentionally undisclosed so things remain apolitical and non controversial.  



The book has a bold and beautiful innovative writing strategy, but the book becomes a chore, making it difficult to read. Even though Azar tries to lighten the writing with the addition of some interesting quotes and the inclusion of two love scenes, it unfortunately comes across as deliberate fillers! For sure the book needs to undergo a thorough editing for it to remain interesting.


Surprisingly, at our Bookgroup meeting, for the first time, we all shared similar thoughts about the book. In fact, it is this sharing of our thoughts and ideas, with a lot of help from Mr Google, the reading of reviews and listening to Azar’s interview that helped the nine of us, understand collectively the author’s intention. We hoped we had got it right! 


I would recommend to the reader who wishes to read this book, to browse through the book reviews first and decide if they would like to pursue reading the book. 

Seema Chandnani