- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
In The Saffron Kitchen, Yasmin Crowther has captured, with uncanny accuracy and grace, the deep confusion and conflict visited upon a mother and her daughter by their respective histories. The mother, Maryam, is an Iranian woman, daughter of a general and member of a well-respected family during the Shah's reign. When she became separated from her family at the start of the revolution and was sheltered chastely overnight by Ali, her father's servant, her life was forever changed. Disowned by her father, she moves to Tehran to become a nurse and then to London, where she meets and marries Edward, a fine and gentle man who adores her. When the story begins, their daughter, Sara, born in England, married to an Englishman, and ignorant of her mother's haunted history, is newly pregnant. When she miscarries, during a dramatic confrontation with her mother and her young Iranian cousin, years of secrets and pretending unravel at last.
Maryam decides to go to Iran, to distance herself from these events. What follows, in Crowther's revelatory manner, is a perfect portrayal of a half-life, one lived only on the surface. Maryam comes into her own when she goes back to her village; the sights, sounds, and smells all beckon to her with their sweet familiarity. England falls away, with all its confusing customs and strange language, as does Edward, with his so very different background. Beckoned by her mother, Sara comes to visit and to ferret out the particulars of her mother's past. The question remains: will Maryam return to Edward and England or stay where she is once again at home?
Crowther writes with great insight about attempting to cast off one's past--and the impossibility of doing so. The saffron kitchen of the title is a lovely evocation, both symbolic and actual, of what gets left behind and of one daughter's willingness to occupy both worlds. --Valerie Ryan
Starred Review. Maryam is the willful daughter of an Iranian general who backed the Shah of Iran during the (U.S.-backed) 1953 coup that toppled Iran's prime minister, Mossadegh. In the midst of the turmoil, and with the threat of an arranged marriage hanging over her, Maryam is sheltered one night by her father's trusted assistant, Ali, a young man near her age—16—for whom she feels a shy attraction. And though still a virgin the next morning, their feelings for each other are clear. Maryam is sent away by her aloof father ("she is no daughter of mine"), a painful memory that, decades later, shatters her settled marriage to an understanding if pained British husband, and bewilders and angers her own daughter. A 40-year separation from Ali and a tender reunion in a remote village are just a few turns of the intense plot, full of tragic coilings and romantic passion, that make this a wonderfully intricate debut novel. Crowther, daughter of a British father and an Iranian mother, powerfully depicts Maryam's wrenching romantic and nationalistic longings, exploring the potency of heritage and the pain of exile. (Jan. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
I don't get for one moment how there can be any 1 star reviews? LOL This is hands down my most favorite book ever. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jamie L.
hard to follow all the strange names and cities. I finished the book only because I will discuss it at book club.Published 4 months ago by Sondra Kalish
This book is about real life-- no simple choices. We are all a product of our upbringing, and to really understand someone, you must understand their past. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Coloma girl
At first it's a little confusing due to narration transitions between characters, and flashbacks. Other than that it's great, and I totally recommend it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by shawntay
but i feel i have to speak up about this beautifully written novel. i loved the two varied voices of the iranian mother and english-iranian daughter. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Barth
Surprisingly good book! I read this book on a recommendation and it was not my usual style of book, but very enlightening. It was well worth reading.Published 24 months ago by Kitty
Bought a CD to listen to the story during a long trip. The reader's distinctly British dialect was not easy on my North American ears. My sister praised the book she read. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by R. Kampa
This is an extremely poignant and beautiful book. It's about culture and culture clash and how it is to be an immigrant and very importantly about the oppression of women. Read morePublished on November 22, 2012 by Inchcape Rock