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Best Nonfiction Finalist - Stanford University Libraries- William Saroyan International Prize
"An Iranian Oliver Twist." BBC
Solacers tells the touching story of a 5-year old child’s search for family life and safety following the divorce of his parents in Iran during the 1960’s. The first child of a heartless father and a discarded mother is left to fend for himself on the streets of Mashhad, seeking food and shelter wherever he can. His lonely early years are an unbelievable tale of cruelty and betrayal on the part of nearly everyone who might be expected to help, save for one aunt who does her best to keep him from starving.
But living a harsh and solitary existence has one advantage for this little boy: other than forcing him to be self-reliant, no one attempts to indoctrinate him on rural Iranian society's archaic cultural values and religious beliefs. And so he never accepts his wretched state as fate, choosing instead to dream big dreams about getting an education, having his own family, and starting a new life – possibly in the faraway land called America. He makes a plan and by the age of 17 he boards a plane to the land of possibilities, where his dreams eventually also take flight.
"If you devoured “The Glass Castle,” vividly remember “Angela's Ashes,” and were fascinated by “Destined to Witness,” if you loved the colorful descriptions, the oriental storytelling and the ornate language of Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” you will definitely get your money’s worth reading “Beraubte Wut-- the German edition of Solacers,” by the American author Arion Golmakani." – Joke Brocker, Westfälische Nachrichten
“A story of hope, determination, and forgiveness, Solacers is a remarkable tale of resilience and optimism, with lessons for us all,” say Hans J. Massaquoi, retired managing editor of Ebony Magazine and the author of best-selling book, Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany. “Golmakani gives voice to children everywhere who long for nurturing and hunger for security.”
"Arion Golmakani's memoir, Solacers, is the story of his often grueling and always challenging childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran. It will grip you from the first page, as a little boy is taken away from his mother, yet again, with her permission. If you're a little boy in Iran in the early sixties--unwanted by your family, passed from one foster home to another--where do you go, what do you do, and where do you find solace?
You might expect this to be a depressing tale, and that this young boy would quickly become bitter and hardened; after all, he's been abandoned by his mother and father. Instead, the reader is immediately drawn to the main character, who doesn't indulge in self-pity but rather meets his ordeals and hardships head-on. Sort of an Iranian Huck Finn but with a sweeter disposition.
"One of 30 Moving memoir every student should read." OnlineCollege.org --OnlineCollege.
"He was neither an orphan, nor a street kid. But life dealt him such a hand that now, those who hear the story of his childhood in Iran, consider him an Oliver Twist in the streets of Mashhad. His childhood could be summarized in two words: Hungry and Forlorn.” BBC
“A first class book. One of the most important attributes of this book is its ability to motivate readers to try harder, and guide them to find a better life for themselves.” - Dr. Ehsan Yarshater, Colombia University
"This endearing boy's temerity and often self-deprecating storytelling style will keep you turning the pages; throughout his youth he encounters people who are cruel or indifferent, but also finds many solacers. The characters are not portrayed as either good or evil, but as complex people with their own motivations and troubles. As the young boy deals with the intricacies of human behavior, his own humanity and questioning spirit shine through.
This beautifully written book gives us a glimpse into another time, while reminding us that we humans are all in this together regardless of what culture or era we inhabit. Solacers is suspenseful, moving, sometimes humorous, and always interesting." Diane Alexander. Editor at large.
An amazing book to read
This is undoubtedly one the most beautiful and compelling books I have ever read. I highly recommend this book.