Gloria's Reviews > Pomegranate Soup

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
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's review
Nov 24, 09

bookshelves: cozy-reads
Recommended to Gloria by: Book Club
Recommended for: Younger adult women; 20s and 30s
Read in November, 2009

Great author comments follow below. This book has elements of a "cozy read" though it admittedly has some serious overtones, more than what you might find in a typical cozy read. The lighter side includes the bonds between three sisters, starting up one's own business, making new friends, starting a new school, first love, cooking, etc. The heavier elements are inferred, but include racism, rape, spousal abuse, revolution, and relocation.

From Marsha Mehran (Nov 09): I want to start out by sending all you gals a big 'Hello' from the West of Ireland, where I am currently residing. I moved back last year--can't keep away, it's such a magical place. Certainly it continues to inspire me with stories---I'm happy to say that there is another installment of the Ballinacroagh series in the works. Just love those Aminpours!

You've asked about my bio. I was born in Tehran in 1977. I was two years old when my family left, on the heels of the Islamic Revolution. History has certainly played an interesting role in the Mehran household-- none more so than the event that triggered our move.

Having been accepted to Masters programs in New Mexico, my parents had planned to leave Iran irregardless of the ensuing upheaval. The Revolution still took its toll on things anyway: the day my father chose to lodge his student visa application with the US embassy in Tehran was November 4th, 1979. The same day that revolutionary students took the Embassy hostage. Timing, some say, is everything.

So---life turned. Plans changed. We emigrated to South America, to Argentina, which had a very open immigration policy. Instead of pursuing their academic careers, my parents opened a Middle Eastern Cafe in Buenos Aires as a means of survival--quite de rigeur for an immigrant. It was there that I got the cooking bug.

Another move to Australia, and then at nineteen, I left for New York City. There I met my future husband, an Irishman from County Mayo. We travelled and lived all over, especially in Ireland. Where, of course, inspired by all that had happened in my life to date, I wrote Pomegranate Soup.

So, writing and living are entwined for me. But I think that is a truth for most authors. As far as Iranian women go, and the bond that holds them. It's a pertinent question for me, as I am am about to wrap up my third novel. It's a stand-alone, set in a beauty salon in Los Angeles. An Iranian beauty salon. And the women who frequent it.

There is a special connection in Iranian friendships. Not only between women, but between men as well. Modern times have brought men and women together in friendship, but same-sex bonds are deeper in most cases. There is even a word for the kinds of conversations, the intimacy that occurs between close friends: sohbat. It means mystical conversation, a deep bond. I touch on it in the books. It's a beautiful concept, which is very real and heartfelt as well. Quite deep.

Hope that goes a bit way into explaining things. I have to say that Iranians do have mystery to them. There is certainly a private world and public world, that can be seperated in the Iranian psyche. You might recall how Marjan mentions this to Julian in the pub scene in Rosewater. I hope that my stories, among others that are and will come out, will help to illuminate this notion, if only a little. Still, at the end of the day, we're all the same, yes?
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