“The Stationery Shop” is a sweet, overly sentimental story of a woman’s life journey from heartbreak in Iran to ultimate consolation in America.
Roya Khanom, a 17 year old high school senior in Tehran, meets Bahman Aslan at the Stationery Store in Tehran. They start meeting there on Tuesdays and with the assistance of the store proprietor, Mr. Fakhri, begin to know each other and fall in love. Bahman is a political activist supporting the Iranian prime minister Massadegh.
Bahman‘s father is a successful engineer and his mother, Badri, married up from her modest beginnings. But Badri has many secrets and does not approve of the romance between Bahman and Roya. Badri has chosen another girl for Bahman, from a much more successful family.
When Bahman requests approval from Roya’s parents to marry Roya, his parents do not join him, which is the tradition. At the engagement party for the couple, Badri shows up wearing all black.
After a coup attempt in August of 1953, Bahman and his family disappear and Roya assumes the disappearance is tied to the resistance. Mr. Fakhri transfers correspondence between the two and ultimately, Bahman asks Roya to meet him at Sepah Square and then can go together to the government offices and be married. She goes to Sepah Square in the middle of what turns out to be deadly protests and he does not show. Shortly thereafter she receives a letter from Bahman breaking off the relationship.
Bahman’s mother calls her to let her know that Bahman is marrying the girl chosen for him. Roya is bereft and her parents send her and her sister to America for college. Both girls meet American men and marry. Roya never stops thinking about Bahman and in 2013, a curious turn of events brings them back together. Their reunion answers all of the open questions.
The book is interesting in terms of Iranian history and culture. The story itself is a little too sentimental for my tastes and the ending a little too convenient. You can reserve this book at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here.