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The Saffron Kitchen

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  2,162 ratings  ·  398 reviews
One autumn day in London, the dark and troubled past of Maryam Mazar surfaces violently - with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara. Racked with guilt, Maryam is compelled to leave her home and husband to return to Mazareh, the remote Iranian village where her story began. There, among the snow-capped mountains and wind-swept plains, she is confronted by her ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Abacus Software (first published August 22nd 2006)
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Tea Jovanović
Lepa knjiga... dobra priča... debitantski roman... Dobar prevod... :)
I don't know why I keep trying to read books about Iran. They always leave me feeling frustrated and irritated. The last one I read, Reading Lolita in Tehran, did the same thing to me - although at least I felt like I was part of a graduate-level book club. It was smart, well-written and academic - even if it did leave me feeling emotionally empty and discouraged about the Middle East.

This book, The Saffron Kitchen was unconnected and abstruse - without meaning to be. The writing is mediocre, t
Oct 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: arm chair travellers and people who want more than just chick lit
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: National geographic reading list
This is a well written book which is easy to read and for that I've awarded it three stars as it helped some long commutes to sail by fairly effortlessly and let me tell you, when your commute happens to go through Wigan (land of wind-tunnel platforms and limited shelter), this is no mean feat.

I suspect that a lot of the description and some of the experiences in the book are somewhat autobiographical with Crowther drawing on her own background and experience of a one-step-removed Iranian Cultu
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm loving this book. It's emotionally a bit intense. I keep wanting to switch the pov to the mother, right now it's first person from the daughter. Maybe I can just relate more to the mother and wish I could hear her thoughts. UPDATE: I finished the book, and really liked the story. It's a love story on so many levels, love of a man and woman, love of a mother and daughter, and the love a person has for a place and how that is tied up with the feelings for a person. I could relate to the mother ...more
This book is about an Iranian woman whose traumatic experiences during childhood completely alter the course of her life and ultimately affect the family she has built in a foreign land. Crowther really understands Iran and Iranians; she gets the details - the saffron, the gold bangles, the tea from samovars - and she gets the big issues - especially the family name. For a first novel, I'm impressed.
I liked the idea of the book more than I liked the book. But I'm still looking forward to discussing it at book club.
At times I was distracted by the differing points of view - Crowther switches from first person to third person and back again. There were some chapters where I wasn't sure who was talking - and even when I knew who was talking, it was unclear the timeframe. Was it present day or 40 yrs ago?
At the end, Maryam explains the big secret of her life and it ended up being rather anti-cl
I listened to this story on CD so I could knit. All the ingredients of this book are right, but the amounts could have been a bit different. I wanted to know a lot more about Ali and Dr. Ahlavi, because these characters revealed themselves to be good, interesting, and a comfort amidst all the unhappy events of the other characters. The cruel father needed more character elucidation, also, perhaps as a contrast to Maryam, both before she has to leave her family and is merely a bit wild, and after ...more
Alex Nye
I am currently reading The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther. I picked this up on Saturday in a charity shop, browsing absent-mindedly through the shelves of discarded books, so I approached it with an open mind. It was published in 2006. I haven't finished reading it yet, but I have to say I am absolutely loving it more than I have enjoyed a book for a while. And the Reason? A beautifully lyrical and poetic writing style, and a main character (the mother Maryam) that I can really identify with ...more
This is Crowther's first novel. She is the daughter of an Iranian mother and British father, just as her main character is, and she brings a lot of authenticity to the page in terms of being of two different worlds. I was especially interested to see how Crowther handled point of view in her novel. Her choices, unfortunately, don't always work. In an interview, Crowther explains her moves from first to third person as she moves among Sara (the daughter) and Maryam (the mother), but until I read ...more
This was the paperback (sorry the record doesn't match--couldn't find it) I carried to doctor appointments for the last month or so. I have that system where the heavyweight hardcovers are on the bedside table, the romances I don't wish to be seen with by the exercycle, and higher-brow paperbacks in the battered tote with the essentials for waiting and waiting and waiting...I digress. Saffron Kitchen held my attention though all the interruptions. (Why is it patients can wait an hour, but then m ...more
This totally drew me in. The main characters are so easy to sympathise with, I wanted to see a solution that would make them all happy.

The story finds a family living in Britain, with family ties to Iran. The attempts of the mother to reconcile her two disparate lives, before & after leaving Iran is too difficult & so she lives in the present most of the time. But as she gets older her past keeps affecting her actions, until she is compelled to return to Iran.

I found the romantic aspects
Sana Jivani
I thought this book was a really good read. Not un-put-downable, but very good all the same. The book started off a little slow, but I found myself drawn into the characters and the cultures in just a few pages.

I always enjoy reading about different cultures and the potrayal of Iran and its cultures was done just perfectly in this book. The author certainly has a gift at conveying emotion of the characters, especially Maryam (the main character) and as a reader, you really do feel the sense of y
I was very hesitant when I picked out this book, then completely fell in love with the author's ability to tell a story. Sometimes I have a hard time with novels that spend one chapter on one character and then the next chapter is on a different character. I get irritated because I end up liking one character's story better than the other. In this book, however, I found I enjoyed both characters and stories equally. Her transitions were beautiful and equally spaced and thoroughly enjoyable. I en ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Set in London and Iran, Marayam travels back to her village in Iran, in an effort to understand her past and find the man she left behind more than forty yewrs before. Her husband, Edward daughter Sara and nephew back in London are left to wonder about that life of which they know so little, and if she'll ever return.
I thought this was a lovely book, well written, poignant and quite a page turner. The descriptions of both England and Iran - written with such affe
It seems like I read this book years ago! But in fact, it was just two months ago. I have slipped into my "can't finish a book I start" phase. Thankfully I did finish Yasmin Crowther's The Saffron Kitchen.

Nothing exceptional about this book really. To me I felt it was more an effort to include Iran in the story and therefore garner the attention of those "Oh! I love the exotic dangerous Middle East!" types who would read anything that mentions Ali in a book. The story was simple : at the beginni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feisty Harriet
I really wanted to give this a five-star review, but I felt like the last 20% of the book fell pretty flat and veered into cliche. Main idea is that an British-Iranian young woman, Sara, is dealing with her more and more absent mother, the reality of her parent's marriage, a miscarriage, and her younger cousin (he's 12) and she doesn't seem to have enough information about anything to truly understand all the working pieces. Maryam (the Iranian mother) left Iran after the cultural revolution, bu ...more
This book is almost comparable to The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Yasmin Crowther doesn't quite pull you in to the story like Khaled Hosseini does but it's an excellent try and great first novel. To me, this was a story about finding out who you are, conquering your demons and being the person you were meant to be.
Since I spend a lot of time driving, my favorite thing to do is to listen to audiobooks and I did with this book. There are two narrators in this book, the first one being the Iranian mother which was read by an Iranian woman who is is British educated and it was read very well. The second narrator is the daughter in the book who is born to an Iranian mother and an English father and I found her very stuffy British voice to be a bit irritating, since the way she said certain words as basic as Fa ...more
In una Londra autunnale, due tragici eventi concatenati imprimono una svolta improvvisa e radicale all'esistenza di Maryam Mazar, iraniana di nascita: la morte della sorella a Teheran e la dolorosa interruzione della gravidanza della figlia Sara aprono uno squarcio nell'apparente tranquillità della sua vita e del suo matrimonio. Rinnegata in gioventù dalla famiglia d'origine per un peccato non commesso, la donna decide di tornare nella terra che è stata costretta ad abbandonare per affrontare i ...more
Kerri Stebbins
This book is...difficult. Difficult to read at times, and difficult for me to describe/review.

Parts of this book are simply stunning. Vivid. Poetic. Beautiful even in their brokenness.

Parts of this book are terrifying. Sad. Badly narrated, and poorly arranged.

I get it: Flow is tricky. But it remains one of the most difficult things: To muster sympathy for a character you allow to do something deplorable in the first five pages. I wanted to feel for her. To forgive her. But the way this story
This books explores the life and relationships of Maryam Mazar.
Maryam is at times remote and often seems unfeeling to the point of cruelty to her English husband and daughter. The book explores why she is that way, jumping back and forth from present to past. Her story ,after a brief present day introduction ,begins in a small Northeastern Iranian village, Mazareh. The book attempts explore how the culture and her family dynamics contribute to her arrested development. I liked parts of the bo
This book interested me and I could relate to the story from many perspectives. I am first generation half-Persian and could relate to some "first-generation" issues. I am an American expat living in a completely different culture (China), so I understand the sense of dislocation, as well as the longing for "home." However, I also long to visit Iran (currently impossible) because I have cultural roots there. While I enjoyed The Saffron Kitchen, it did not grab me and hold me like I thought it wo ...more
Meh. This book had so much potential - intriguing premise (mom/daughter relationship, mom missing life back home/feeling lost and misunderstood in adopted home), somewhat catchy intro to characters, unique setting (England/Iran), etc. - but I found the dialog hard to follow (and sometimes just unnecessary), the narration disjointed and thought it was WAY too long. Also, seemed like too many characters were thrown in and there wasn't enough development of the main characters (well, maybe enough o ...more
I liked the story in this book far more than the realisation of it. The structure was annoying: I wish the author had decided on one or two points of view and stuck with them. Switching from first to third person and back is just lazy and it confuses the reader.

I'm not familiar with Iran but it was obvious that the writer was, and I suspect she has lived through that British/Iranian disconnect herself, so the story rang true. However I'm not sure the writing was quite up to the task of painting
Mary Clements
The Saffron Kitchen is definitely a very colourful book. The story is set in two different periods of times and, at some points, it can get slightly confusing. However, it shows a very pictorial view of the 'nicer' side of Iran and Iranian culture. I enjoyed reading this book because of my flare for depressing/romantic novels with happy endings... although I didn't give it a full 5 star-rating because of its "stalling" at a couple of scenes throughout the book. Nevertheless, it is an easy read a ...more
What a great read! Maryam Mazar is a 50something year old Iranian woman who lives in England with Edward, her husband of 30 years and her orphaned nephew, Saeed. Edward and Maryam's daughter, Sara, lives nearby and is expecting her first baby. When Maryam hits Saeed, Sara bears the consequences and a horrified, Maryam runs away to her native home of Mazareh, Iran. Meanwhile Sara and Edward are left behind, bewildered and confused.

We are told the story from two perspectives: Sara and Maryam's and
This book was interesting from the standpoint of exploring the life of an Iranian woman. With Iran being in the forefront of the news these days, it's good to go beyond politics and into stories of people, even though these are fictional people.

I found the story a little difficult to follow at the beginning since it switched back and forth between the viewpoint of the mother to the daughter, and also switched from current day to the past. The daughter in the story searches to find out about her
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La cocina del azafran (Nuevos Tiempos) (Nuevos Tiempos / New Times)

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“Maryam closed her eyes and listened as Noruz began. 'You know that every spring, crocuses grow in the courtyard outside. They come from the dirt, green shoots from nothing. One day the flowers come purple as night, the nights when we were young. And inside the petals, saffron grows the color of blood. Then they die, and the ground is dirt again where chickens shit. That's the way of things: saffron, shit, saffron, shit.' Maryam smiled at the word in Noruz's mouth. 'I was sad and Dr. Ahlavi told me this: to remember that saffron comes from the dirt.” 5 likes
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