This story confines itself to one sprawling, stately family's experience of the events directly preceding and following 1979 - the flight of the Shah, the Islamic revolution and the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini.
It strays not much further than this watershed year, but long enough to captures the lost hopes of the Iranian people in the shocking, violent aftermath of revolution.
Kader Abdolah reminds us that until this seminal year, Khomeini was still a hero, not yet a tyrant. Unlike various realist accounts of this key historical moment, this book bears a "flying carpet" element of fantasy.
Translated from Dutch by Susan Massotty, it catapulted Abdolah onto Holland's bestseller lists, and deservedly so.