This extraordinary, gripping debut is a rags-to-riches-to-revolution tale about an orphan girl's coming of age in Iran.
"Aria is a feminist odyssey, about a girl in a time of intolerance as the revolution in Iran is breaking out . . . a poised and dramatic historical novel with contemporary relevance." --John Irving
"Here comes a sweeping saga about the Iranian revolution as it explodes--told from the ground level and the centre of chaos. A Doctor Zhivago of Iran." --Margaret Atwood (on Twitter)
It is the early 1950s in a restless Iran, a country powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious divides and by a larger world hungry for its resources. One night, a humble driver in the Iranian army is walking home through a neighbourhood in Tehran when he hears a small, pitiful cry. Curious, he searches for the source, and to his horror comes upon a newborn baby girl abandoned by the side of the road and encircled by ravenous dogs. He snatches up the child, and forever alters his own destiny and that of the little girl, whom he names Aria.
Nazanine Hozar's stunning debut takes us inside the Iranian revolution--but seen like never before, through the eyes of an orphan girl. Through Aria, we meet three very different women who are fated to mother the lost child: reckless and self-absorbed Zahra, wife of the kind-hearted soldier; wealthy and compassionate Fereshteh, who welcomes Aria into her home, adopting her as an heir; and finally, the mysterious, impoverished Mehri, whose connection to Aria is both a blessing and a burden. The novel's heart-pounding conclusion takes us through the brutal revolution that installs the Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran's supreme leader, even as Aria falls in love and becomes a young mother herself.
NAZANINE HOZAR was born in Tehran, Iran, and lives in British Columbia, Canada. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Vancouver Observer and Prairie Fire magazine.
Shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award
One of Chatelaine’s “Best Books for Summer Reading” 
One of The Globe and Mail’s “Four debuts to watch” [April 20, 2019]
One of The Globe and Mail’s “37 spring books to dive into” [April 2019]
One of CBC Books’s “28 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in spring 2019”
“Aria is a feminist odyssey, about a girl in a time of intolerance as the revolution in Iran is breaking out . . . a poised and dramatic historical novel with contemporary relevance.” —John Irving
“Here comes a sweeping saga about the Iranian revolution as it explodes—told from the ground level and the centre of chaos. A Doctor Zhivago of Iran.” —Margaret Atwood (on Twitter)
"A beautiful book set against the pains and passions of the Iranian Revolution. It is so compellingly realised, and its characters and events so intimately portrayed, that one feels, while reading it, Iranian, which is to say it is a book about a particular time and place yet also, and perhaps more importantly, about the common hopes and intimate longings of lives so forcibly invaded by national events." —Hisham Matar
“The summer’s must-read book. . . . [W]hile it is a historical novel set around the Islamic Revolution, it is also very much about personal relationships—their power to destroy, and their potential to be destroyed by political events.” —Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail
“[An] epic journey. . . . Hozar . . . captures the sweep of Iran’s political history.” —Chatelaine
“To Hozar’s considerable credit, the characters feel complex and naturally developed; they have the vitality of living people. . . . Aria is, at its heart, a story not about a place, or about historical events, but about the human need to belong.” —Robert Wiersema, Toronto Star
“Hozar has a cinematic style to her writing that keeps it very visual.” —Vancouver Sun
“A sweeping tale of perseverance and the strength of the human, especially female, spirit.” —The Source