The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a book that stays with you long after reading. This historical fiction is a love story that starts during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Roya and Bahman are fantastic characters and the cultural aspects of their lives are enjoyable to read about.Title: The Stationery Shop
Author: Marjan Kamali
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.
When 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—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest 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, but suddenly, 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 resigns herself to never seeing him again.
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 he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?
The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Book Review: The Stationery Shop
Having not learned much about the history of Iran in the 1950s, this book is a real eye-opener to the events that lead to the ousting of the country’s democratic leader in 1953. Roya and Bahman are teens who have fallen in love during this dangerous time, and their story is heartbreaking and intense.
❀ Empowering Characters
Both Roya and Bahman are incredible to read about. Roya’s family is very close-knit and quite determined that she and her sister will become something big one day. The motivation that their father gives Roya and her sister to become educated is amazing. Also, Bahman is so intriguing, as he is very politically active and quite charismatic. It is easy to see how Roya falls for him and never stops loving him despite all of their hurdles.
My favourite aspect of The Stationery Shop are the descriptions of food. Roya enjoys cooking for others and takes pride in her Iranian upbringing. There are so many scenes in the novel where she shares her love for a taste of home. Kamali will leave her readers wanting to try some of these incredible dishes as well.
❀ Heartbreaking Story
The Stationery Shop is an epic historical fiction that describes a time that is not discussed enough in literature. This is a story that will break hearts and enlighten its readers at the same time. Definitely one that I highly recommend.