Book-The Stationery Shop is a story of love that blossoms in 1953 Tehran. Roya and Bahman both 17, meet at Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop, which has much more than paper and writing instruments. The owner stocks foreign language titles and books of poetry & is a refuge from the political unrest in the area. A coup to unseat the newly elected prime minister and give power back to the Shah of Iran causes tension and violence. Bahman is passionate about fighting for democracy and Roya’s father shares a similar political ideology. After meeting in the shop weekly, the couple fall in love and become engaged, despite the fierce displeasure of Bahman’s mother. Soon afterwards, Bahman and his family disappear. Heartbroken, Roya enlists the help of Mr. Fakhri who agrees to exchange letters between the two lovers, though he cannot reveal Bahman’s location. Through their correspondence, the couple decide to elope and meet in Sepah Square. Roya waits, but Bahman never arrives. Further communication reveals that Bahman has agreed to an arranged marriage with another. Having lost the love of her life and through the encouragement of her father, Roya and her sister Zari seize the opportunity for a university education in the United States. Fast forward to Roya at age 77, who is settled in America with an American husband. By chance, she discovers that Bahman is living in a retirement home nearby and decides to confront him. Misunderstandings and secrets are revealed, as the couple attempt to piece together their past.
This is a wonderful, historical story that moves at a leisurely pace. The novel depicts Iranian life in the 1950s, is rich with culture, and is punctuated with references to the comforts of Persian food.
The Stationary Shop is available in print and audiobook for checkout.