Review: The Stationery Shop

by Marjan Kamali (Gallery Books, 2019)

The Stationery Shop swept me completely into the alluring yet dangerous world of Tehran circa 1953. Iran experienced a violent coup d’état that year. This multi-generational love story and depiction of Iranian-American immigrant experience is a welcome addition to the canon of literature written by Iranian diaspora authors. Main character, Roya, is a high school student in Tehran who spends most of her afternoons at Mr. Fakhri’s Stationery Shop. Here, Roya browses books and dreams about her future. One day, she meets Bahman, a rebellious aspiring journalist who helps Mr. Fakhri distribute political pamphlets. A meditation on time, love, loss, and memory, this novel jumps between settings and time periods (1950s Iran and 21st Century America). While there are many provocative themes, the heart of The Stationery Shop explores varieties of first love: lost and found. Sensory descriptions of Tehran are fabulous; author reveals an entire world that remains off limits due to decades of political upheaval. Will appeal to fans of Azar Nafisi and Marjane Satrapi. Full review on BookBrowse.

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Karen Lewis