Author: Marjan Kamali
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: June 18, 2019
Book Description: From the award-winning author of Together Tea — a debut novel hailed as “compassionate, funny, and wise” by Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls’ Poker Night–comes a powerful love story exploring loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate. Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who amidst the political upheaval of 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 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 stationary 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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: The Stationery Shop is such a beautifully written novel. When I started this I thought this was going to be a light novel verging on romance, however, this book was so much more. Kamali weaves a deep narrative thats spans 60 years that will sit with me for a long time.
This book does switch timelines between present time in Boston and 1950’s in Tehran for the majority of this story. The story centers around Roya growing up in Tehran where her father is very modern, and wants to see his daughters educated. Roya loves reading and frequents a local stationery shop where she is introduced to Bahman, and they quickly fall in in love and get engaged to be married. As you read, you will find Iran going through a deep political change and Bahman is very political and wants to participate heavily in this change. Things quickly go array and they lose touch with each other. Roya ends up in college in California where she meets her future husband Walter and will spend the rest of her life with. A fate leads her back to Bahman 60 years later to answer all the questions of all the years ago.
I did listen to the audio of this version, and the narrator is perfection. I could listen to her all day. If you want a deeper summer read, this will definitely hit that spot. It has so many elements in this story, that there will something for everyone.