I loved Marjan Kamali’s debut, Together Tea (see below). I loved the sound of this story and liked the idea of putting faces on the Iranian political events I’d studied way back in college in the early ’80s.
1953 was a time of great hope for many Iranians. The Shah had allowed a good deal of modernization in society, but now they also had a Prime Minister who wanted full democracy, in spite of the British and the Americans who wanted to continue to control the flow of Iranian oil and it’s profits straight to their shores alone.
Roya and Bahman are very young and idealistic. They love the great Persian poets and are enjoying a very modern, Western-style life in Tehran. They meet in the stationery shop owned by a man sympathetic to the cause of love and to a political ideology. They fall in love and make plans for their future. But destiny is written on their foreheads–or perhaps in the board room of the British Iranian Oil Company, or was it written instead by an unstable mother with a slightly scandalous past?
Does love endure all things? Is destiny foretold?
I loved every moment of this book. It is perfectly told, finely crafted, and superbly paced. All of the characters and images were so real to me–I did not want this book to end. I listened to the excellent audio version.
4 Full Stars
The Stationery Shop: A Novel by Marjan Kamali
Also by Marjan Kamali
From my old blog:
It’s so hard not to gush about how lovely this book is! The rich cultural background, the decent hardworking family, the girl born of one culture raise in another, the simple everyday life that is happy–it all adds up to a total delight of a book Daria and her mother conduct the same dance all mothers and daughters do as old ways clash with new ways and independence threatens beloved dependence. Both have reached a time of questioning, a time of holding on while wanting to let go. Absolutely not to be missed. Together Tea by Marjan Kamali.
The UK version cover is lovely–isn’t it?