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The Stationery Shop of Tehran – Marjan Kamali
The Stationary Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali is a different book to anything I’ve read before.
I’d hoped this could be a successor to The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri which I love and have reread countless times.
Reader, it was not.
The book is about 17 year old Roya who lives in 1950s Tehran with her family.
Roya comes from a happy and well-loved family and is drawn to the Stationery Shop in the centre of Tehran where she meets the young radical activist Bahman who turns her world upside down.
Against the backdrop of the forthcoming revolution, Bahman and Roya fall in love and end up engaged to be married.
But fate twists a cruel turn and Bahman never meets Roya at the Square to be married against the backdrop of a coup and death.
Heartbroken, Roya must remake her life in America where a chance encounter means she meets Bahman again and asks him, why did you leave me in the Square?
His answer provides a deeply sad story of love, loss and betrayal that changes everything.
I wasn’t intending to review this book because while there were a lot of twists and turns, it kind of lost steam towards the second half.
The first half set in 1950s Tehran was my favourite.
You can taste the foods and smell the atmosphere against the oncoming revolution, but also feel the love for Roya and her sister Zari.
I found some of the characters were given more air-time then they should have been and I wish the second half wasn’t as boring as I found it.
For me, this book could have been so much more but the explanation as to why Bahman never found Roya just felt a bit weak and I didn’t get into this book as much as I thought I would.
Decent book to read about Tehran in the 1950s, but not quite for me.