by: Marjan Kamali
A poignant, heartfelt new novel by the award-nominated author of Together Tea that explores loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.
Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink.
Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
At first, I thought The Stationery Shop was going to be an Iranian version of Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook. The flowery description of teenage love had me worried it was going to be cheesy. Don’t give up! There was an interesting twist in section 2. The Stationery Shop was multi-layered – one part love story, one part family drama and one part terrific historical fiction. The ending was tidy and predictable, but also satisfying. I really liked it.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓3/4
This is such a sweet story and a compelling read, set in a time in history that I should know more about. I was only familiar with this period in Iranian history from the American viewpoint, but it was so interesting to read this story from the “internal” setting. This book is full of surprises, featuring many loving, good and truly sweet characters that you will adore, and one Cruella deVille/Wicked Witch of the West that will make you crazy. Read it – it’s a lovely, well-written story with interwoven characters and relationships.