“And the young, who love so passionately, have no idea how ugly this world is.”
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 18, 2019
Rate: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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?
The Stationery Shop came highly recommended to me and I was so excited to read it. Reader, I wasn’t disappointed!
The Stationery Shop is a generational tale following two of the most poignant characters I have read in a while. I just want to hug Roya and Bahman. Marjan Kamali writes a beautiful love story in the middle of a political upheaval. She explores loss and love in such a way that I felt like I was there with the characters.
Set in Iran and later in America, there is violence and war, and a depiction of the impact felt from the war both by the characters involved and the generation to come. Marjan Kamali does also explore mental illness and how it is handled and viewed in the then society. All these plot points were so insightful to read and witness.
“It was not the kind of job she had expected to be doing, but compromise was the name of the game in her new adult life.”
I’m not a fan of insta love but Marjan Kamali makes it work and I found myself enjoying it. There is a great sense of family in this book that made me love it even more.
The Stationery Shop of Tehran is a riveting book, with beautiful writing, almost lyrical, and quite interesting characters. I highly recommend.