November 22, 2019
Genre/Categories: Historical Romantic Fiction, Romance, Family Life, Iran
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Complicated families…..soul mates…..resilience…..
In 1953, two teenagers meet in Mr. Fakhri’s Stationery Shop in Tehran. Roya loves the fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and the thick, lovely writing paper while Bahman loves Rumi’s poetry and is an activist. They share a love of poetry and continue to meet in the Stationery Shop while their romance grows. Their happy life together is complicated by family tension and political unrest.
Writing: The lovely prose in The Stationery Shop captures you from the first page. Through vivid details and great story telling, I was transported to Tehran in the 50s. I appreciated descriptions of the beloved stationery shop, the customs, the food, the political conflict, and the colorful characters. The writing sweeps you up into the lives of these believable characters, the culture, complicated family relationships, and the political conflict in August of 1953. Although the ending is bittersweet and mostly satisfying, the circumstances are also seem somewhat contrived.
Characters: We first meet Roya and Bahman as teenagers in Tehran, and the author allows peeks into their individual adult lives in America through a dual timeline. This story of life-long soul mates reminds me of the love story in The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
Themes: Thoughtful themes include family devotion and loyalty, loss, power of love, family secrets, resilience, and determination.
Content warning: undiagnosed mental illness, mention of a self-induced abortion
Recommended: I highly recommend The Stationery Shop for readers who appreciate a heartfelt and engaging historical fiction love story, for those who are looking for a well-written story set in Tehran, for fans of diverse reads, and for book clubs. One of my best reads of the year!
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars on Goodreads)
Meet the Author, Marjan Kamali
Marjan Kamali was born in Turkey to Iranian parents. She holds an MFA in creative writing from New York University and an MBA from Columbia University. Her debut novel, Together Tea, was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award and has been translated into several languages. Her second novel, The Stationery Shop, will be published by Gallery/Simon&Schuster in June 2019.
Marjan’s work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and adapted for the stage.
Visit the author at marjankamali.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MarjanKamaliAuthor or on Twitter @MarjanKamali.
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