Strand of a Thousand Pearls

A Novel

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Redolent with the scent of lilac and oleander blossoms, and bursting with the flavors of 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.

Six years ago, Dorit Rabinyan burst onto the scene with Persian Brides, a novel that established her as a writer of incandescent spirit with a gift for spinning wry, magical tales about the vagaries of love and marriage. In Strand of a Thousand Pearls, she has given us a bitter-sweet fable about desires fulfilled and denied—about married love and carnal love, about mother’s love and the kind of love that vanishes one night without warning, like an evaporated dream.


1 / Matti Azizyan’s Birthday,

Five-thirty in the Morning
At last, the luminous match was struck and the day was lit.

But Matti had awakened earlier—before her father rose from his dreamless bed and went, sorrowful, to the sea; before her sister Sofia’s blue baby awoke and shook the...
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1. Many novels appeal to sights and sounds, but Strand of a Thousand Pearls is suffused by smells — mama’s quinces and plum jams simmer on the stovetop, ripened guava perfumes the air, and sweet-scented sweat springs from the sisters’ tangled bodies. How does this emphasis on the third sense...

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“A lovely story with compelling characters showcased subtly against the realities of contemporary life in the Middle East.”
USA Today

“A moving fable of love...exquisite.”
USA Today

“A formidable talent.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Rabinyan’s story is, above all, about women....The marriage stories overlap and weave together in a rich pattern that resembles a parable or family legend.”
Los Angeles Times

“Spellbinding...a literary love story of crushed dreams, part family drama, part modern-day fairy tale.”