I found The Girl from the Garden to be an at times engrossing at other times frustrating novel. The glimpse into the lives of a Jewish family in Iran in the early parts of the 20th century is captivating: fear, obsession, jealousy, loyalty, faith and violence all mix together in the cloistered environment of the family enclave. It is a glimpse into a seemingly lost world full of mystery and joy, tragedy and love, faith and superstition.
But the jumping back and forth in time and the complex way this is narrated undermines much of the story. Whenever the story comes back to the present it slows down and loses its punch. The flashbacks carry all the power.
An interesting and promising debut novel but one I am of mixed feelings about.