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. When Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite customer, she loses her heart at once. 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.
... a powerful, heartbreaking story of star-crossed lovers and Iran's political upheavals ... Tehran's contradictions come to life in Kamali's narrative ... Kamali draws her characters with compassion and dignity: they are at once buffeted by outside events and doing their best to act with grace and wisdom. Mr. Fakhri's stationery shop and its owner are a tribute to the importance of ideas and poetry, and Roya's eventual encounter with Bahman is a powerful study in seeking truth and forgiveness. The Stationery Shop is at once a layered historical saga of a country struggling toward democracy and an intimate meditation on 'a love from which we never recover."'
Kamali paints an evocative portrait of 1950s Iran and its political upheaval, and she cleverly writes the heartbreak of Roya and Bahman’s romance to mirror the tragic recent history of their country. Simultaneously briskly paced and deeply moving, this will appeal to fans of Khaled Hosseini and should find a wide audience.
... moving ... The refined, melancholic mood of their story extends to Roya’s feelings about the Iran she left behind, which vanishes completely as the Shah’s authoritarian government gives way to an even more despotic clerical rule after the 1979 revolution.