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The Stationery Shop

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  4,688 ratings  ·  925 reviews
A novel set in 1953 Tehran against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Gallery Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Elaine Remember “e” because there’s an “e” in envelope. A very old way to remember it.
Myra Rose No, Kamali never says how Bahman winds up in Massachusetts or living so close to Roya. It was a question I asked myself as well. But if you believe I…moreNo, Kamali never says how Bahman winds up in Massachusetts or living so close to Roya. It was a question I asked myself as well. But if you believe I think Roya’s mother, that their destinies were inscribed on their foreheads, then it was fated that they eventually lived so close.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,688 ratings  ·  925 reviews


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Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Look at love
How it tangles
With the one fallen in love
Look at spirit
How if fuses with earth
Giving it new life
Five lyrical, heart-wrenching/ripping/breaking into pieces, soul shaking, perception changing, revolutionary, magical, eternal love stars!
The list of the things you need urgently after you finish this book are:
- Rolls of toilet papers, napkins, paper towels, anything helping you out to clean the nasty evidence of your ugly cries!
-Fresh air! So you can howl at the moon like a wolf for
...more
Jen
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love these middle eastern stories. Fascinated by their traditions-charmed by some; repulsed by others.

This one is a reflection back on a love story that took place in 1953, Tehran. With a country who fought for democracy; for a couple who fought for it within their family. A couple who are destined to be together until torn apart for reasons unbeknownst to Roya. Fifty years later, she gets her answer.

The beauty and description as well as the character depiction , were captivating.
A beautiful
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Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
LONG ....BUT NO MAJOR SPOILERS....

There is much to like about “The Stationary Shop”, where we are taken back to the year, 1953 when Mossadegh was the Prime Minister in Iran, during political devastating-havoc.
Many people in Iran loved Mossadegh. They believed he was their democratic leader who had the courage to stand up to foreign powers wanting their oil. Mossadegh was ‘hope’ for the many people in Iran who believed in him. They felt he was the right man to achieve democracy.

The
...more
Christine
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christine by: Net Galley
5 stars

My goodness. Another beautiful and enthralling read in a year full of them for me! I am going to be brief as the less said the better for potential readers of this wonderful novel.

The Stationery Shop (the perfect title for this story) is set in two timelines—1953 and 2013. I would estimate, however, that 90% of the story takes place in 1953, including, believe it or not, the epilogue. Our protagonist is Roya, a young woman who turns 17 years old in 1953. She meets her first love, Bahman,
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness. This book.

Roya lives in Tehran in the 1950s. She’s a teen brimming with idealism, at a time when it could be dangerous with the political upset in Iran. Roya finds peace in Mr. Fakhri’s book and stationery shop. (Can you even believe? This made this paper and book love over the moon with happiness!).

The store is dusty, warm, and inviting, and Mr. Fakhri is kind. There are fountain pens, bottles of ink, and special papers.

Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite
...more
Esil
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A high 4 stars!

The Stationary Shop was an unexpected treat. This novel is partly set in Iran in the 1950s and partly set in contemporary US. The story focuses on Roya, who is a teenager in the 1950s and in love with Bahman. Through politics and family, things don’t work out for them, but they meet again in their 70s in the US. Roya and her journey are told lovingly. A number of characters do terrible things, but no one is terrible — life is complicated and people make bad choices. It’s a story
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Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
review to follow. This is a good book but I would classify it more as historical romance, there is little history in this book :(
Karen
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
4+ stars
In Tehran 1953, Roya and Bahman both 17 yrs old, first meet at a stationary shop that they both frequent. They are rapidly and intensely taken with each other, a romance blooms and quite soon they are engaged.
Fate has other things planned for these two souls and theirs is a powerful love story with feelings that last a lifetime, despite occurrences and people that separated them.
This book made me cry.
Stephanie Nicholas
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This was absolutely magnificent! I'm still trying to catch my breath and dab away a few last tears after gently closing the cover. Ahhh my.

This was a historical fiction novel that took place during the 1953 political uprising in Tehran, Iran. Roya and Bahman meet in Mr. Fakhri's stationery shop, a favorite place for them both. After falling in love against all odds, they plan to meet in secret and marry, but when that day comes, Roya finds that Bahman doesn't show. There is commotion in the
...more
Carolyn
This is a beautifully written love story set against the political upheaval of Iran in August 1953, which saw the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh ousted by a coup designed to keep Iran in the hands of the Shah and its oil under control of the British and Americans.

Roya, a poetry loving teenager in her last year of high school in Tehran loves nothing more than spending time browsing Mr Fakhri's stationery shop where as well as paper and pens he stocks all her favourite
...more
Susan Johnson
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I decided to read this after reading reading the enthusiastic review from my GR friend, Elyse. Unfortunately I didn't respond in the same manner. There are parts of it that I really liked and parts that just drove me up the wall.

I don't know if it's because I am old and cranky but the romance section just dragged out so long I wanted to scream. It just went on and on. I know many people like that so this could be the book for you. I was more interested in the political situation of Iran in
...more
RoseMary Achey
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Stationery Shop is a place you will want to visit again and again! In this skillfully plotted novel author Marjan Kamali introduces us to the violent upheaval leading up to the fall of Mossadegh in 1953 Iran. Against this political unrest we are introduced to a wonderful cast of characters you will immediately bond. I would argue fate is also a major character in the novel.

The novel’s true beauty lies in its capacity to emotionally move the reader. You cannot read this story without feeling
...more
Jennifer S. Brown
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a very emotional person--I'm usually left dry eyed when others are sobbing over books all around me--but this novel gutted me in the very best way possible. I am wowed by The Stationery Shop.

The story of Roya and Bahman begins when they are teenagers in 1953 in Tehran. The two fall in love, meeting in secret at the Stationery Shop. They become engaged, although the political upheaval around them and family demands threaten to tear them apart. The two decide to marry anyway, but when Roya
...more
Joan Happel
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is historical fiction done right! The Stationery Shop is the beautifully told story of Roya Kayhani, a 17-year old lover of Persian poetry and Bahman Aslan, an energetic young man already known as a political activist. The two meet in Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop and begin to fall in love. Despite the objections of Bahman’s class-conscious mother, they become engaged. Their passionate romance is set against the political passions of 1953 Iran. Roya and Bahman decide to marry and arrange to ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
The Stationery Shop is part romance, part family drama and part historical fiction that weaves the history, political tensions, social mores, ahhmazing food and beauty of Iranian culture within an engaging and touching story.

The story is told using two time frames. The first is set in 1953 Tehran, Iran during a tumultuous time when future of that country would be influenced by a political coup. The second picks up in 2013 Boston and continues to follow the characters. The first half of the book
...more
Lisa
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe I have ice in my veins or am too cynical, but this "romantic" novel about two doomed lovers just didn't captivate me. The political background in 1950s Tehran was interesting as was the delectable cooking, but most of the novel was formulaic and predictable. And I was impatient with mopey, sorrowful Roya. I'm feeling generous, so three stars for potential.
Crystal King
This book wrecked me. Up at midnight, bawling into my e-reader as I finished this book. Kamali knows how to ratchet up the emotions. She also knows how to write a beautiful book, full of incredible prose, believable characters and an intricately woven plot that will have you gasping as it unfolds. When I read books like these ahead of their publication (thanks NetGalley and Gallery!), it is both a gift and a curse--I want everyone to read it NOW but they will have to wait. But oh, that wait will ...more
Connie G
"The Stationery Shop" opens with 77 year old Roya seeing Bahman, her former fiance who did not show up at their meeting place in Tehran on the day they were going to elope sixty years ago. This was the first time she had seen the politically active Bahman (who had supported Prime Minister Mosaddegh) since the fateful day of Mosaddegh's violent overthrow by the Shah in the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat. Roya went on to attend a small college in California, and live a totally different life in the ...more
Karis
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yes, this book is technically a romance, but what I loved the most was how it opened my eyes to the Iranian culture, to the complexity of living in a land constantly in political upheaval. For the first time, my heart identified and ached for a generation of people I had never truly concerned myself with before.

I loved the simple parts too— the food and customs, the smells, the taarof extreme politeness and small talk, the deeper meaning conveyed in conversation through the Farsi language, even
...more
Wendy
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb Story Telling!
The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali, is the story of young love between Roya and Bahman during the political upheaval of 1953 Iran.
It also manages to cover 60 years of their lives and how feelings of love and grief haunt us, even years later.
Beautifully written, realistic characters and the intersection of food and culture were wonderfully depicted.
I highly recommend this epic and enlightening historical fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster
...more
Marialyce
Going to end this one and not finish. There is too much fiction and not enough historical for me, unfortunately.
Marianne
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Look, Zari, being in love is difficult to explain. When you know it’s right, you just know. There’s no avoiding it. It’s like … it’s like a tree has fallen on your head.”

The Stationary Shop of Tehran is the second novel by Turkish-born author, Marjan Kamali. In 1953, Tehran is full of political unrest, but seventeen-year-old Roya Kayhani isn’t interested in all that (she hears it from her father constantly). Roya just wants to read: Persian poetry, Rumi in particular, or translated novels, it
...more
Anna Luce
2 stars

Maybe I shouldn't have read this alongside a book by Elif Shafak...a writer who brilliantly evoke multiple cultures and cities populating them with vastly differentiating, and realistic, people. Although in The Stationary Shop there are glimpses of a talented writer, the writing was incredibly repetitive with an abundance of clichéd phrases and observations. The few scenes which managed not to make me roll my eyes were the ones which revolved around cooking.

Perhaps I was hoping for a
...more
Mary Beth Keane
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart was with these characters from beginning to end. A wonderful, engrossing, moving story.
Stephanie Anze
“The past was always there, lurking in the corners, winking at you when you thought you'd moved on, hanging on to your organs from the inside.”

Roya is a bright seventeen-year old young woman that loves poetry and books. Mr. Fakhri's Stationary (and book) Store is her personal safe haven. On one of the afternoons that Roya is spending time in the stationary store, a young man walks in. Mr. Fakhri introduces Bahman as "the boy who will change the world". Roya and Bahman begin to regularly meet at
...more
Lynda
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Everything happens for a reason”, or so the saying goes. But does it?

Some believe fate is guiding our destiny and welcome it as a sign of where to go next. Fate is a comforting idea; it takes away our responsibility and sense of control.

Others believe that there is no such thing as fate. That everything doesn't happen for a reason. Everything happens and we give a reason why it's significant.

Underpinning this book is fate. What you believe will determine your takeaway from the lives of its two
...more
Gloria Arthur
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-bookshelf
4.5

What a beautiful and interesting story The Stationery Shop of Tehran is. I loved reading this so much, it's a historical mystery story of love and loss. It was so thought provoking reading about the culture in Iran and the Persian food sounded wonderful.

The tale is set in two timelines 1953 (mostly) and 2013, it's a story of young love but so very much more. Teenage student Roya meets political activist Bahman in her favourite place of retreat and learning, The Stationery Shop of Tehran (Also
...more
Anne Wolfe
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This book could have been so much better with some good editing and polishing of an uneven writing style. The first half of the novel is filled with unnecessary repetition. How many times is it necessary to tell us the younger sister sets her hair with newspaper strips to make it wave? It's interesting to read about cooking smells, but the redundancy here never ends. And descriptions of body odors and soap smells? Not necessary. Phrases like "sounds like a plan" and words like "wimpy" are ...more
Melanie
The Stationery Shop is a beautifully mastered historical fiction love story that gripped me as soon as I read the opening letter by the senior editor Jackie Cantor. She writes: 'The wealth of feeling it evokes - of young love, of loss and grief, of the valiant but ultimately vain effort to leave the past behind, and of the unexpected connections that can heal us - is so resonant and deeply imagined that I defy anyone who reads it to remain unmoved." Her words alone drew me in and, upon finishing ...more
Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali is a book that stays with you long after reading. This historical fiction is a love story that starts during the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Roya and Bahman are fantastic characters and the cultural aspects of their lives are enjoyable to read about.

Having not learned much about the history of Iran in the 1950s, this book is a real eye-opener to the events that lead to the ousting of the country’s democratic leader in 1953. Roya
...more
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Marjan Kamali, born in Turkey to Iranian parents, spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. She studied English Literature at UC Berkeley and received her MBA from Columbia University and her MFA from New York University. Her work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in two anthologies: Tremors and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been.

An excerpt from
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“The past was always there, lurking in the corners, winking at you when you thought you'd moved on, hanging on to your organs from the inside.” 10 likes
“You might think the world is complicated and full of lost souls, that people who've touched your life and disappeared will never be found, but in the end all of that can change.” 1 likes
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