Cover Image: The Palace of Forty Pillars

The Palace of Forty Pillars

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Member Reviews

The Palace of Forty Pillars is a small (but mighty) collection of poetry by Armen Davoudian.

In these poems, Davoudian reflects on his own experiences “as a gay adolescent, an Armenian in Iran, and an immigrant in America” and tells “a story darkened by the long shadow of global tragedies—the Armenian genocide, war in the Middle East, the specter of homophobia” (Tin House).

Without having read this description from the publisher, I may not have inferred the full context for his writing. After all, Davoudian doesn’t explicitly lay out what he is talking about (though he leaves hints here and there, in the names of places, the descriptions of food, the occasional date). And while this context is important and helpful to better understand his writing, it is by no means necessary to appreciate the themes on which he is reflecting, the emotions he evokes. You can feel the anxiety, the intimacy, the nostalgia in each of his poems, in each enchanting phrase. I enjoyed the evocative language of these poems; some stand outs (for me) were Alibi, The Yellow Swan, and Something There Is That Doesn't Love.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tin House for my advanced reader copy.

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As other reviewers mentioned, this was incredibly tender and really beautiful. I really enjoyed the prose, and I found myself wanting more-- not because it was too short but just because it was so lovely.

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I really love this collection! I thought that there were some really striking poems in here and I wish it were longer simply because I wanted to read more poems from this poet! The poems about family were particularly touching.

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There are books that, as an audience, I realize are not "for me" in the sense the message comes from a background and place that is different enough from my own that it is unfair to assume I can relate to it on a deeper and more intimate level simply because my own life experiences don't allow me to fully engage with the work. With that said, The Palace of Forty Pillars is a beautiful collection that I mostly enjoyed because of the skill and craft it demonstrates rather than the subjects of these poems. But interspersed amongst these beautifully crafted works are gems of knowledge and sentiments tossed like coins into a fountain--the details of Davoudian's observations and insights touch on those undeniable universal truths that ring out loud and clear. I was grateful for the opportunity to read this collection, and extend thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy.

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This was a really excellent poetry collection that reminded me of 1) what good poetry looks like, and 2) why I love poetry. The author so perfectly captures little moments and feelings and fills them with sensory experiences--it makes you feel like you're there, like you're able to taste or smell the same things, even if the places aren't familiar to you.

There was so much careful attention to structure and craft in these poems, which I deeply respect. I'm definitely going to find myself coming back to this one for rereads.

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A beautifully put together collection that speaks of tradition, displacement, family and love. I love how the poems were arranged and presented. I imagine that the physical copy will be absolutely gorgeous. There were so many soft, quiet and tender moments in this collection. Absolutely stunning!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this collection. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I love collections of short-form prose and poetry so much. What some may perceive as being a shorter glimpse into a palette cleanser, I am transported into a world of beauty and illustrations so vivid and alluring that they are able to captivate my existence within less than 160 pages. That’s exactly what The Palace of Forty Pillars did for me. I read of narratives of loss, family trauma, indoctrinated propaganda, and so many other feelings of growth and pain throughout our narrator’s span in Isfahan, Iran.

I am so thankful to Tin House, Netgalley, and Armen Davoudian for granting me advanced digital access before this baby hits shelves on March 19, 2024.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange of an honest review. The intricate tenderness as well as gorgeous prose of this collection is sublime. I loved it, especially due to the war climate we are currently experiencing. It is a piece of kindness and such a joy to read.

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Incredibly tender, almost desperately do against a backdrop of estrangement and global tragedy. Stunning, I must own a physical copy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tin House for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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