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Together Tea Paperback – May 21, 2013
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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“Compassionate, funny, and wise, Together Tea is a treasure of a novel. Marjan Kamali creates a wonderfully loving and real story about a mother and daughter, and their complicated cultural identity. Its remarkable scope-from 1970s Tehran to 1990s New York-is beautifully rendered.” (Jill Davis, bestselling author of Girls' Poker Night)
“Smart and witty, with characters so dear you want to pack your suitcase and travel with them wherever they can take you. How lucky I feel to have been given this baklava-delicious gift of Persian immersion from a New York point of view.” (Elinor Lipman)
“Sparkling dialogue and warm characters make Kamali’s debut novel perfect for book clubs.” (Kirkus)
“Lyrical, vivid, and warm...Although there are differences in Mina’s and Darya’s American experiences, the author effectively evokes the pull both women feel toward Iran. She creates empathy for a people forced to live one life in public and another privately.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[A] lively debut...Kamali perfectly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of Tehran. Humor, romance, and tradition all combine in an enjoyable chick-lit tale, Iranian style.” (Booklist)
Top Customer Reviews
The setting is mid 90s in the US where the story opens with a clash between an American-educated daughter, Mina, and Darya, her American-Iranian mother who hasn't quite internalized her new culture. The mother Darya's quest in life is to get her daughter married to a successful Iranian, but the daughter is annoyed with her mother's matchmaking efforts.
When Mina wants to visit Iran again, Darya insists on accompanying her. This sets up the catalyst for the path to resolution of the story.
Thus, after establishing the family's story in the US, there is a throwback in the novel to an earlier time in Iran, starting with the last years of the Shah and the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. The story then returns to the present time, after clarifying the roots of the family dynamics in Iran, and it underlines the repressive regime's effects on the entire country and its one-time resident- tourists.
The ending is happy enough with everyone continuing life in more contented spirits and with greater tolerance and understanding of each other.
The success of this novel lies in its superb characterization, making the reader empathize with almost any character. The descriptions of the setting and customs are also told clearly and remarkably well. Insertions of Persian words and phrases, too, add color to the author's almost poetic storytelling.
I recommend this novel because it is a lesson in seeing other cultures as they are, instead of judging them in a hostile manner, and also because the storytelling and the characterizations are highly skillful.
I thought this was going to be just a fun light read, but this book had so much more to it. I saw it as a study of choices, and in a way the guilt, happiness and sadness that comes with those choices.
The pull between the homeland and the adopted land, the traditions of their homeland being kept up even while not there.
This story mainly focuses on the mother/daughter relationship and the pull between the modern day practices of the USA and those that the mother cannot forget from her life in Iran.
Part way through the story, In the 1990's mother and daughter return for a trip back to Iran, to visit relatives that they were not able to say goodbye to when they left the country. Daughter Mina, wants to find out who she is and what is important to her, and the mother Darya, has never forgotten her life there. The time in Iran is rich in family, food, visual images of the beauty of the country, which I loved to read about, but as well the dangers of being back there at that time, with all of the strict rules applied to women. Here on this journey Mina is at last able to find a happy medium between her two worlds. I in a way could relate to her feelings of not really belonging to either country, as I was also born in one place but raised in another.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautiful story about an Iranian family who immigrated to the US after the revolution. It highlights the struggles of the daughter to integrate both cultures into her life. Read morePublished 1 month ago by B. Shev
I just want to thank Mrs. Kamali for giving me the joy of reading her beautiful book. Also having left my country at an early age due to a dictatorship, can relate in so many ways... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elena
I really enjoyed this book. Would have given it 4 1/2 stars. Parents wanted their kids to gave a safe and happy childhood had to move then from Teheran to the USA. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Hester L. Albright
Really enjoyed this book... Learned more about Iranian history and culture... the mother/ daughter love and bond was sweet and yet written honestly in all its complexities...Published 5 months ago by Lynn Smith
I was hooked pretty quickly: The being torn all immigrants feel, even second generation, and those who arrive as children, and who are raised on stories about the "old"... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
I married into a Persian family in 1980 and was aware of much of the turmoil of separation and assimilation into a new culture. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A story so lovely, beautifully composed to reflect the poignancy of the immigrant experience in truth and tenderness. Read morePublished 6 months ago by lynne Chizzick