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An official ABA Indie Next List selection
Big Other Most Anticipated Small Press Book of the Year
The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Year

"In her debut novel, Ghaffari addresses the political concerns of the period through an intense portrait of a family struggling against them." ―Annabel Gutterman, Time

"Ghaffari’s fiery debut tenderly depicts a family against the harrowing backdrop of the 1979 Iranian revolution." ―David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly 

"More than the Iranian revolution, it’s a meditation on the nature of stories―the way they shape our lives and the power they have to not only enrich, but sustain us." ―Rachel León, Chicago Review of Books

"The dynamic family story is a moving exploration about how our political environments and affiliations can make us question and test our deepest relationships." ―Samantha Zabell, Apartment Therapy

"Richly imagined debut novel." ―Caroline Rogers, Southern Living

"Told through a host of unique characters, including servants, children, and friends, To Keep the Sun Alive tells the largely untold personal stories behind one of modern world history's most important political moments." ―Sadie Trombetta, Bustle

"From page 1 on, you'll be deeply invested in the story of a large family affected by the Iranian Revolution in the '70s . . . Ghaffari's saga is so evocative you'll nearly be able to smell the orange trees in the family's orchard." ―Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29

"A mesmerizing novel about a large family's time in their lush gated home as the Iranian Revolution brews in the background―infiltrating their pastoral life, and the community around them." ―Mehera Bonner, Woman's Day 

"A beautiful novel to start your year, To Keep the Sun Alive weaves a family story over a lifetime effortlessly." ―Women.com

"Ghaffari’s novel examines the lives of Iranians from different walks of life―retired judges, children, servants―as they go about their business amidst political turmoil and strife." ―Sarah Stiefvater, PureWow

"Written with depth, intelligence, grace, and sensitivity." ―My Persian Corner

"Ghaffari skillfully illustrates the very human consequences of political history." ―The Christian Science Monitor 

"Ghaffari is an empathetic writer, able to suffuse even the smallest character with a rich inner life. The web she weaves between the personal and political is so intricate, To Keep the Sun Alive warrants more than one read." ―The Rumpus

"An old-school family saga, lush and many-voiced . . . It’s a delight." ―Lily Meyer, Electric Literature

"Evocative debut set during the Iranian Revolution . . . Ghaffari delves into her characters with sensitivity for their positions and differences. Readers will savor the emotional depth of one family’s experience of the terrifying effects of religious fundamentalism and political instability." ―Publishers Weekly

"Ghaffari’s exciting debut is a family epic centered on several months in 1979 . . . Ghaffari weaves each character’s deep history into the novel, creating a very complete world. Her poetic prose relays deep and intimate emotion in a single line; its richness makes characters' joys and tragedies palpably felt by readers, too. This is a beautifully written story of a family's upheaval and its roots in their own history." ―Booklist (starred review)

"In her lush and atmospheric debut, author Ghaffari sketches a complex portrait of a country on the brink of revolution and explores the poignant ways political unrest can bind or tear families apart . . . A nuanced, character-driven exploration of a formative moment in a country's complicated history. An evocative and deeply felt narrative portrait." ―Kirkus Reviews 

"An intimate yet sprawling chronicle of life in Iran before and during its revolutionary years . . . The stories she tells of Iran are rendered in authoritative fashion―only fitting for a book that is about the persistence of memory. They fulfill To Keep the Sun Alive’s mission of capturing a specific place and time." ―Foreword Reviews

"This is the rarest kind of novel, one which loves as much as it teaches. Its characters burrow into your heart, and there you will want them to stay . . . A true and complete delight." ―Will Harris, Books and Bao

"Written in rich, enrapturing prose, To Keep the Sun Alive transports us into the world of a vibrant, multigenerational family and their ancestral fruit orchard. Rabeah Ghaffari evokes an Iran on the brink of revolution, in a story of love, uprising, familial bonds, and the lives behind history books." ―Hala Alyan, author of Salt Houses

"How do we recognize the moment our future has been written for us? In To Keep the Sun Alive, as the Islamic Revolution looms just outside the gate of an Iranian family orchard, Rabeah Ghaffari has built a world so lush, so precise that you will find yourself rewriting history if only to imagine it could still exist." ―Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing

"A mother struggling to keep her family together despite the ravages of religious and political differences. A young man in search of love in the midst of social upheaval. An exile in Paris, condemned to wrest his beloveds out of dreams. Rabeah Ghaffari's flawed and beautiful characters will tether you to the tiny, lush orchard in Iran where they begin and end their lives with uncommon grace." ―Ru Freeman, author of On Sal Mal Lane