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.
... a wistful look at two idealists and the world they should have inherited. Reading it this summer is an experience filled with echoes, as tensions between her characters’ homeland and their adopted country ratchet ever higher ... Kamali offers a paean not just to lost love, but to the poetry, food, and culture that fed their memories for 60 years.