Thursday, February 25, 2021

2021 - #29 - The Stationery Shop; Marjan Kamali

 

TITLE/AUTHOR:  The Stationery Shop, Marjan Kamali

PUBLISHERSimon and Schuster Audio

YEAR PUBLISHED:  2019

GENRE: Fiction 

FORMAT:  audio download PP/LENGTH: 9 hours and 13 min.

SOURCE: Library

SETTING(s):  Tehran and US (MA)


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A story of young love, cultural divides and the road not taken.


BRIEF REVIEW:  The story begins in 2013 with an elderly woman visiting an elderly man in a nursing home in Massachusetts. The woman is Roya and the man, Bahman,  who she was planning on marrying 60 years earlier in Tehran.  It all began back in 1953 Tehran, at a "stationary shop" run by the kind Mr. Fakhri.  Roya, just 17 at the time loved to visit the store near her school to see the beautiful writing papers, colorful, specialized inks and lovely fountain pens as well as the lovely books the store had stocked.  The shop was the place where the owner introduced Roya to Brahman, a handsome young man with a love of poetry and a thirst for justice.  Before long the two planned to marry but, on the eve of the wedding violence, a coup, breaks out in the city square and Roya never sees Braham again. 

Sixty years later after a whole other life: college in CA, marriage to Walter, a good American man, and the birth of two children plus loss of one child, Roya has an opportunity to get the answers to questions that have haunted her for decades.

This is quite a sentimental story about young love and the what ifs about that road not taken.  I loved learning about the Iranian culture, customs, class systems and political climate. The descriptions of places, Persian foods , teas and spices were delightful.  The "stationery shop" reminded me of a place I used to spend many Saturdays when I was young, purchasing pretty writing paper, pens and stickers for letter writing to friends far away and, then I'd move a few isles over to browse the book shelves as well. Such a nice story, I think this would make a very good book group discussion story. as well  

I listened to the audio version, read by Mozhan Marno who did a very nice job, however,  there were a couple of occasions that I felt a little confused about who was speaking so I did wish that I had the print version or eBook instead.  Despite this I must say this was a nice change of pace kind of story for me from thrillers and mysteries - happy I tried this one.

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

MEMORABLE QUOTES: "She could spend an entire afternoon just looking at fountain pens and ink bottles or flipping through books that spoke of poetry and love and loss."


"You might think that the world is complicated and full of lost souls, that people who've touched your life and disappeared will never be found, but in the end all of that can change."



24 comments:

  1. That does sound interesting and so does the setting.

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  2. I like the setting. It has been a while since I read a book set in Iran.

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  3. Yeah I also listened to the audio of this novel and for the most part enjoyed it. It was quite a sweeping romantic tale ... that is a bit sad of lost love etc. It caught my attention on a car trip last year ... https://www.thecuecard.com/books/fall-views/ I'm glad you liked it.

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    1. Yes, I haven't read a story anything like it that I can recall. I liked how it appealed to the senses at times.

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  4. Those quotes you included really hit me. I think I have a copy of this one on my bookshelf. The cover looks very familiar. It sounds very good.

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    1. It was a nice change, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

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  5. I think I have this book on one of my Kindles. If I do I may move it closer to the top of my list.

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  6. Vicki, I hope you like it if you decide to try it soon.

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  7. Sounds good. I've read a little bit of fiction set in Iran, and I've found the culture to be a fascinating one.

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    1. I want to read a lot more fiction that takes place in different countries that I need more exposure to.

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  8. I love the quotes you shared but if I remember the intro of this one correctly I can definitely see that it would get a little confusing in audio. I'll have to look for this one in print.

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    1. Yes, it was a conversation between Roya and her husband about meeting someone - now we know who it was but, yes starting a book that way seemed mysterious.

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  9. I absolutely loved this book. Iran is so rich in history and culture and I feel like sometimes, it gets a bad rep. Loved the love story here as well, even though it didn't quite end happily.

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    1. Yes, I really loved that experience. I also now want to read some books that take place in Turkey and a few other countries that I need to learn more about.

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  10. This sounds like a lovely story. I wonder if all book bloggers also enjoy stationary shops (and school supplies)?

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    1. Helen, interesting question. I've loved fancy papers, notebooks, markers, pens etc even since I was a kid. My favorite part of back to school shopping was picking the notebooks, pens etc more than the clothes (although I've always loved clothes too). LOL The love has never left me and am always buying journals and in search of the perfect pen to this day.

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  11. I read this one a day ago and cried and cried, early in the morning. The book was moving, and depending on the narrator, the audio could be as well, or not. A lovely love story, I agree.

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    1. So happy to read you loved this as well, such a nice story.

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  12. I love the cover art for this book! I think I'll get this in print since it looks like there will be quotable passages, which I'll want to mark. Like you, I used to write long letters to friends and loved to spend time perusing "stationery stores," looking for pretty cards, paper and stickers. I have a fountain pen, but it's dried up and needs a new ink cartridge. Maybe I'll recommend this to my book group. Thanks, Diane!

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    1. Les, did you have pen pals? I had several from the age of 11, mostly in the US but a couple international. One, who of them lives in SD and I still send an annual holiday card and update to her. This would be a great discussion book.

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    2. Diane, no I didn't any pen pals in the traditional sense. We moved a lot when I was younger, so I mainly wrote to my childhood friends, although later on I wrote (when I was in my 30s & 40s) to my grandmother, mother and godmother after we moved from California to Nebraska.

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  13. Oh I have got to read this one. I love fountain pens and have a little collection of inks. What a great review and definitely adding it to my list.

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