STRAND OF A THOUSAND PEARLS

Fiction, 1999

The novel tells the sad, sensuous, and spellbinding love stories of the members of the Azizyan family, who arrived in Israel from Persia, India and Turkey.

In the years leading up to Iran Azizan’s marriage, her mother weaves one long strand of pearls into a wedding dress, lovingly unraveled by the husband Iran finds one night down by the sea. Solly is a fisherman, shy, clumsy, and burning with love for his young bride, and with all but a thousand of these pearls, they buy a tiny flat in a house shaded by guava trees.

First comes Maurice, with a weak heart, then Sofia, Marcelle, and Lizzie, whose body is cursed with appetites, and mischievous Matti, who mourns her missing twin. At night, Iran coaxes her daughters to sleep with stories of their wedding nights, as they take turns conjuring dreams of the love that the future holds.

Redolent with the scent of lilac, white musk, and oleander trees, and bursting with the flavors of passion fruit, quinces, and overripe plums, STRAND OF A THOUSAND PEARLS is the story of the imagined and actual marriages of the Azizyan girls, their years of yearning, restless and impatient, and the truth of their engagements, miles away from the enchanted realm and imaginary heroes of their dreams.

Rights Sold to:
Germany, Kruger Verlag; Holland, Vassallucci; Hungary, Europa; Israel, Am Oved; Italy, Piemme (reverted); Portugal, Difel SA (reverted); Spain, Grijalbo Mondadori; Sweden, Bokforlaget Natur och Kultur; Turkey, Dogan Kitapcilik; UK, Bloomsbury; USA, Random House

Reviews:
“There is auto-eroticism almost like that in the orientalist harem paintings, but this time from within, through the female perspective…glowing descriptive passages that are simply a pleasure to read.” – Ha’aretz

“It is easy to be captivated by the magic of Our Weddings, because of the richness of colors and odors that accompanies the unfolding of the plot. … like visiting the Spring Festival of the Persian community, where one might see colors, smell odors, hear sounds and declare,’this is great’.” – Maariv

“You read Rabinyan’s book with bated breath. This language is imprinted with symbols of the material flesh, singing the praise of the feminine body.” – Yediot Ahronot

“Aside from her descriptive powers, Rabinyan’s great strength is her perceptive portrayal of the thousand frustrations…Rabinyan’s imagery once again delights with its flavors and colors The minute details of routine are rendered with tenderness and humor.” The Observer… Best of all, (Rabinyan) makes us pity her characters without showing any pity for them herself.” – Times Literary Supplement

“Strand of a Thousand Pearls is a fiercely feminine book and there are exquisite scenes of grooming and primping and longing and separation of members of a close-knit clan… Rabinyan has written a lovely story with compelling characters showcased subtly against the realities of contemporary life in the Middle East.” – USA TODAY

“This is a literary love story of crushed dreams…if you fancy a lush, lyrical and slightly mad read, you will enjoy this extraordinary tale.” – Glamour

“Strand of a Thousand Pearls flows over readers with scents and aromas, textures and tastes. It is less a story than a portrait of a family caught at the intersection of the ancient and the contemporary.” – LA Times