Cry of the Peacock - US

Cry of the Peacock - German

Cry of the Peacock - Polish

Cry of the Peacock - Italian

Cry of the Peacock - French

Cry of the Peacock - Dutch

Cry of the Peacock

Winner of the Los Angeles Arts Council Award for Fiction

Winner of the Phi Kappa Phi Award

“In the women’s prison where the guards had taken Peacock, six people slept in a cell designed for one.”


Cry of the Peacock was an alternate selection of The Book of the Month Club and The Doubleday Book Club.

“A spellbinding story that is hard to put down.”

— Los Angeles Times


“What is surprising is how well it succeeds. This is an important novel. For it sheds light on an enigmatic part of the world with which Westerners must reckon.”

— Washington Post


“A remarkable achievement. The author is first and foremost a storyteller who is able to move her complex plot along with beguiling dexterity. Hers is a novel on a grand scale. A significant work.”

— Kansas City Star


“I knew before I opened Cry of the Peacock that I was embarking on something dangerous and unforgettable. I will never look at the Mideast quite the same again. Cry of the Peacock is an extremely important book, and fulfills one of the main tenets of reading: to learn and to understand.”

— Sun Sentinel, Florida


“Poised between magic and history. An unusual and effective novel.”

— San Francisco Chronicle


“Unusual … fascinating. Even the real political figures and historical events are somehow transformed by the poetry of Nahai’s style.”

— Houston Chronicle


“A series of linked tales that read like the Arabian Nights.”

— Seattle Times/Seattle Post-Intelligencer


“This fascinating book on a little known subject is essential for public library fiction collections.”

— Library Journal


“Nahai succeeds in personalizing history, opening a window onto the baffling political history of Iran and its neighbors.”

— Publisher’s Weekly


“Lots of period detail, vivid characters, and historical background make for an instructive read on a little-known era and place.”

— Kirkus


“Strongly recommended for contemporary fiction collections.”

— Booklist


“A sweeping tale of the persecution and intolerance of Jews in Iran. Throughout the novel flows an undercurrent of mysticism and superstition reminiscent of Latin American authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabelle Allende; but restrained by the realities of this world.”



From the UK

“Drop everything you are doing and rush to the bookshops to pick up your copy of Cry of the Peacock, the most significant novel of a family’s struggle for freedom to be published for a long while.”

— Chronicle and Echo


“A dizzying melange of history, myth, and magical realism.”

— Library Review


“A haunting novel which has considerable power.”

— Publishing News


From France

“A rich, colorful novel, in the tradition of the Thousand and One Nights.”

— Marie-Claire


“A rich, beautiful story.”

— Le Figaro

Listen to the first chapter of Cry of the Peacock


Peacock the Jew is nine years old and living in the Esfahan ghetto when she marries Solomon the Man. She is the descendant of a three-thousand-year-old tribe of Jews — the oldest community in diaspora, a people largely unknown to the outside world. He is a singer in the royal court, a wealthy man known for his good looks and his charm. A decade later, she will become the first woman of the ghetto ever to have left her husband.

Against the backdrop of two hundred years of history, Cry of the Peacock traces the story of a Jewish woman caught in the turmoil of twentieth-century Iran. Told in a series of wondrous linked tales that weave a rich and epic tapestry, it is a magical journey inside the Iranian nation and its people. For the first time in any Western language this story of Iranian Jews offers an insider’s glimpse into one of the most critical parts of the world today.

Washington Square Press