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The Margaret Thatcher school of beauty

2.97  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A moving tale of exile, friendship, love and the healing power of poetry from the bestselling author of Pomegranate Soup. Set in Buenos Aires during the Falklands War, The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty is the story of a group of displaced Iranian refugees living in a decaying Beaux Arts building in the city centre. The inhabitants of the building form an eclectic comm ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published (first published 2013)
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Abbas Mehran With apology, I feel obliged to re-answer this question, since there might be others who have the same question.The Saturday School of Beauty is a re-…moreWith apology, I feel obliged to re-answer this question, since there might be others who have the same question.The Saturday School of Beauty is a re-formatted and re-edited version of the Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty.This book is different, in style and subject, from Marsha's previous books.Therefore, I believe it should be approached as a completely new book and without any expectation that it should follow the same line and genre as that of Pomegranate Soup and Rosewater and Soda Bread. (less)
Suzanne I think the reader is helped by knowing the author died before finishing the book and that her father, as a labor of love, completed the work. The boo…moreI think the reader is helped by knowing the author died before finishing the book and that her father, as a labor of love, completed the work. The book cover would have the father's name listed as 'forward by' and 'text completed by' or wording to that effect. Many of the reviewers did not finish the book so they did not learn about the two authors of the book. Had they known, I believe some would have finished it. It is an additional story (daughter's illness and death and father's love and writing) for the book and as such is very powerful. It is not about reading the back of a book or a synopsis; it is the presentation of an unfinished work by a gifted author and a parent who honored her by completing it. It should be clear up front and frame the story. (less)

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Average rating 2.97  · 
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 ·  248 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty is the third novel by Iranian-born author, Marsha Mehran. It is set in Buenos Aires in 1982, as well as earlier times in Iran. When Zadi Heirati flees Iran with her young daughter, Maryam, in tow, she has plans to search for Maryam’s father, David, in Iowa. But a visa to America is not easily procured, and she finds herself bound for Argentina. A chance encounter at Heathrow with a mink-coated Iranian woman sends her to fifth floor of The Anna Karenina buil ...more
Dec 25, 2014 added it
Marsha Mehran has been the newest voice I have discovered among the Iranian diaspora literature. Much in the vein of the majority of the other Iranian diaspora writers, her life was shattered by the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and her first years in exile were spent in Argentina.

"The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty" traces the private lives of a group of Iranian tenants in an apartment block in Buenos Aires whose lives have had different patterns, but they all share one thing, unwanted displa
Dianne Franklin
Jul 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
I very rarely do not finish a book as I always feel it will get better. I could not finish this book. It was disjointed and I was confused with the characters. Disappointing.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This title will take you beyond the proverbial beauty school. It is and it's not about physical beauty. The beauty lies in the poems recited in conversations the characters have. You get to know them on a different level. You may find it difficult to place their occupations or backgrounds, but will easily understand what's going on in their hearts. The story maybe about glimpses into the lives of displaced Iranians trying to keep their culture alive by forming a close knit group, but its about s ...more
Sharon Horkings
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Jane
I received a copy of The Saturday Night School Of Beauty from its publisher, AmazonCrossing, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. The novel will be published on the 8th of September and is available to pre-order now.

Although The Saturday Night School Of Beauty is set in Buenos Aires, we are presented with very little to identify Argentina. Instead, through the conversations and reminiscences of a disparate group of Iranian exiles, we learn of Persian culture and tradition, and how po
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this book to be quite beautiful, if a little confusing/disjointed at times, because there were so many characters and sometimes there was no clear indication of who was talking, or that the story had moved on to a different time period. Regardless, I found some of the characters intriguing, and Hajji Khanoum especially, deserved a whole book to herself. I didn't feel particularly connected to Zadi as there isn't much focus on her beyond her daughter, and I didn't find Maryam very realist ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
This book has a very nice amount of different cultures, areas of the world and different characters! If there ever was a book that features multi cultural world aspects this certainly is one!

The writing was nicely done, with a poetry feel to and throughout the entire story.

I personally had a bit of a problem always keeping the many different characters straight and not get confused who was currently talking or who said what.

Overall it is a very nice and different book that overs a nice view into
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book has some beautiful, poignant moments, and a huge amount of potential, but...

I found the whole thing quite disjointed; there were story lines and concepts begun but not continued.

I didn't get a good sense of characters, they seemed blurred and not well defined.

The typos and grammatical errors detracted from the prose.

That said, I got to the end of the book and found the afterword written by the author's father, noting that he pulled the book together from notes and rough sketches afte
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, net-galley, 2015, n
This book is an interesting mix of cultures, lyrical passages and interesting characters. It follows friendships formed when Zadi leaves Iran during the revolution to seek refuge in Buenos Aires. She opens a beauty Salon and her neighbours share their stories amongst themselves and the book can feel like a collection of short stories which are sometimes quite startling. Recounting why they fled from Iran to Argentina.

It’s one of those books that is rich in foreign cultures and poetical lyricism.
Rania T
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I feel that the intense spirituality of the poetry of Rumi that is scattered throughout this novel drove Marsha Mehran to try and forge a connection with the Divine. She must have come pretty close, as she is no longer on this earth. Her 'disappearance' mirrors that of many of the novel's characters. Their personal stories are merely fleeting glimpses in time which is symbolic of the shortness of our tested life on Earth and the eternal life that awaits us in the hereafter. ...more
Sara Matsuzaki
This book started out slow and didn't pick up, in my opinion, until about halfway through. Although scattered and hard to follow at times, I loved the life Mehran put into her characters and the collection of complex and thought-provoking poetry throughout. Although it's not one of my favorite books, I appreciate Mehran's dedication and that feeling was strengthened when I read the afterword by her father. ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this because I enjoyed her other books so much. But I didn't find it nearly as good as the previous books. To me it seemed a bit disjointed and tortured. I'm afraid the back story might explain this in some way. I'm really sorry that it wasn't better. ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Lost interest and did not finish
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found this book very disjointed and I couldn't get into it or relate to any characters. In fact I got them all confused, and really couldn't wait to finish it. Disappointed. ...more
Apr 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elisabetta Giromini
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The author was born in Tehran in 1977 but left with the family in 1979 when the Islamic Revolution broke out. This book has all the tone and charm of the cultural circles of Iranian immigrants abroad. It is set in Buenos Aires, the first destination of her family migration, in a building on Avenida Florida called “Anna Karenina”.

The protagonist, Zadi, is there with her daughter for a chance meeting at the airport with Haji Khanoum, the beating heart of the palace life. She decides to get busy an
Janka H.
Rumi, Hafez and the power of stories.

In Buenos Aires, a group of friends of (mostly) Persian origin meet and discuss the life in and through the poetry of the finest Persian poets. Mostly females, they told their life stories and share their emotions.

The idea behind the book is beautiful. The poetry is first class (I need to read me some Hafez and Rumi, too!). The poetry and its interpretation is native to the Persian people, I think.
But the book is very difficult to read. It is heavy, wantin
This was an interesting read. Unfortunately, my mind kept getting stuck on the characters names and wondering if I was pronouncing them right, which made focusing on the story hard at times. Other times the Iranian words woven into the narrative lead me to put the book down to find out their meaning. Then the mention of different foods made me do the same.
I don't think I got what was intended from this novel but it made me want to learn more about some aspects of Iranian life.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
The many characters and their stories never quite come together, the narrative hindered rather than helped along by the many poems quoted. The writer's own story is more fascinating, tragic and touching than the book itself. ...more
Sheila Pritchard
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Fascinating - especially re poetry groups and Hafiz and Rumi poems. But a bit disjointed I felt. Powerful and sad to hear the stories of those displaced people.
Wendy Slight
May 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Unusual for me to give up on a book, especially when I have enjoyed previous books by the same writer. Just couldn’t get into it-didn’t seem to flow or have any momentum.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
No, not for me unfortunately. Too many characters and too much poetry. I just couldn't get into this. ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ng-copies, e-books
Imagine coming upon Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in an unfinished state – perhaps a third of the details are sketched out, but not fully rendered with brushstrokes. Yet, you can still see without a doubt the lady's beauty, her mysterious smile, the grace of her hands. You can only visualize what the painting would look like in its finished state, but you can conclude from what was set down on canvas how breathtaking the whole would have been.

That scenario is how I can best describe The Saturday Night Sc
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. If you are a fan of Rumi and Hafiz, this novel blends in the poetry of these mystics in the story of these immigrants. It's well written and each character is richly developed. A wonderful story and beautiful poems are referenced. ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
The beauty of the novel is in the poetry and philosophy. Zadi Heirati's business, a beauty salon, soon becomes a spiritual refuge of sorts for her neighbors with heavy stories of their own. With others to share what the revolution has done to them makes the personal hardships lighter. This is one of the best excerpts in the novel, with deeply rooted meaning. "Women know that no society can survive if their mothers and sisters are kept with rags in her mouths.With no words to say and no way of sa ...more
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is an uneven book with an afterword written by the author's father, explaining that she died leaving an unfinished manuscript after six years of work and illness. He honored her intense efforts by finishing her work and seeing it through to publication. Parts of this book soar, using Iranian poetry and expat stories to tell tales that illuminate lives that most Americans have never heard or read about. That readers are introduced to lives, through a looking glass, with such enormously gifte ...more
Kathleen Gray
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel of Iranian exiles in Argentina is not an easy read- it helps to have knowledge of Iranian history and culture, as well as an appreciation for poetry to enjoy it. Think of the book as an interlocking series of short stories or tales. The characters are interesting and their stories complex. I liked this book but it's not going to be for everyone. Thanks netgalley. ...more
Ardroy H
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picked up this book in an op shop. The version I found was called "The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty" and I was attracted by the quirky title. Glad I was. One of the most beautiful books I have read - full of poignancy, poetry and personal revelation - all exquisitely drawn in delightfully delicate language. ...more
Jane Rodgers
I enjoyed this book although you needed to like and understand poetry a bit better than I did
I found out some information after i had finished the book - which then made me understand some of the things in the book

I will read another one of her books
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Marsha Mehran escaped the upheaval of the Iranian revolution with her family. She grew up in the United States, Australia and Argentina, where her parents operated a Middle Eastern café. She lived in both Brooklyn and Ireland.

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