The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali | Book Review


the stationery shop marjan kamali book review

I don’t usually read historical fiction or romance or books that set in the time of war or political unrest because I don’t want to feel what the characters feel. But then I realize that you can feel what they feel because you have feelings, and you can analyze your feelings and the book you read then learn something from not only the story but the impact they give to you. So I picked this book and it turned out to be like nothing I have read before. June is a blessed reading month for me.


The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali | Book Review

Length                              : 322 pages | 9H 13M

Narrator                            : Mozhan Marno

Date released                    : June 18, 2019

Date read                          : June 14-21, 2021

Goodreads rating              : 4.21

My rating                          : 4.50

Keywords                         : Adult, historical fiction, romance, family, coming of age, Iran,


Trigger Warning               : death, terminal illness, miscarriage, abortion, depression, suicide attempt,

                                           blood, violence, grief, political unrest, riot

Where to read                  : storytel

Mentioned in                   : June 2022 Reading Wrap-Up


"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.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?" (Goodreads)


It’s not like any other book I have read! I went back and forth between the e-book and audiobook formats since I want to know some Iranian food names or Farsi words mentioned in the book in the written format. I love the way the narrator pronounced words with 'kh' in it such as Mr. Fakhri. It sounds so cool.


Each characters has their own voice which is a good thing for someone like me who forgets people’s names so easily. The amount of introduction for each of them is balanced and even though their names will be mentioned later in the book, you won’t forget who this dude is.


From the beginning of the book, I can feel the sadness and pain from the narration even though it’s only one paragraph. The writing for this book is not too difficult and not too easy to follow either, since there are parts where they jumped into another setting (place/time) but they’re only separated by different paragraph, which took me more time to get that jumping stuff. There are so many Iranian foods and Farsi words mentioned in this book, sometimes there are no explanations about the foods or words. Even though you can still follow the story, I really want to know what they mean.


This book told the life journey of its characters until 60 years later which is cool! It’s so rare for me to find a book about love story (anger, sadness, and disappointment) that last for decades. The Stationery Shop picked some characters’ life or background to tell which explains why they did what they did there. I haven’t read any other book like this where the story it told is not a unique ones, but the way it’s written and presented to the readers is different, and it’s beautiful.


the stationery shop marjan kamali short review
This graphic is part of my June 2022 reading thread

This book didn’t make me cry but it left me thinking for awhile about life. Of the cycle which you think might be repeated again. Of someone’s mental state which is from a past wound and it lived there and controlled them to make dangerous decisions. Of someone’s guilt which lead them to do the wrong because they owed so much to another.


I don’t know. It makes me sad when I think about it. This book feels so real. It doesn’t have the common happy ending when it comes to romance part, it doesn’t reveal everything to each characters and everyone might leave this world not knowing anything. That often happens in the real world, and this book doesn’t try to polish or edit to make it happier. Sometimes we want to read a happier book because our lives are suck, but then we forget that life has its up and down, and love story, especially, is not always ended by a happily ever after. It doesn’t end, it never ends as long as there is someone who plays the role. So if you want to read a book about love story which feels like the one you can find in the real life and left you thinking about life and craving some Iranian foods, then you have to read this book at least once in your life! Let me know your thoughts about this book if you have read and if you have book recs with foods in it, just leave them below!


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