My heart is heavy, but so warm…
Title: The Stationery Shop
Author: Marjan Kamali
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction
First published: 2019
Edition: Paperback, published by Gallery Books in 2020
Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink. Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
When a books has me in floods of tears at the end I know it has been a good one. This one… was everything I wanted it to be.
We follow Roya, a 17-year-old girl, as she falls in love in a stationery shop in 1950s Tehran and her journey from there. Throughout the book I love her character so much and through her you could not help but love Bahman just as much. I felt such a deep empathy for both. I understood Roya’s character development and I could feel her joy, pain and despair throughout the pages.
I really enjoyed the setting in a country in a time period I knew so little about. It felt volatile and tension-filled, yet Roya and Bahman’s romance brought a bit of calm and light amid all the unrest. I liked how this books concentrated its efforts of emphasising the deep connections between people. It made the love story feel very honest and real and it was made me feel it so deeply.
There is so much tragedy within these pages, but it never overwhelmed me. My heart was heavy at times, but there was always hope and despite the fact I could hardly see the last however many pages because of leaking eyes, it was an absolute joy to read this book.
I would highly recommend this book. It is an emotional read, but not a hard one. It is just very beautiful indeed. I will treasure it.
On a side note, I really ought to read some Rumi.
7 out of 7 stars