When it comes to reading, I am not a crier. Sure, stories can make me rage, can get my heart racing with passion or fear, and can even make my heart ache. While I might have strong emotional reactions to stories, tears are rarely among those reactions. In fact, it is such a rare occurrence for me that when I do shed physical tears over a book, the book automatically garners a five-star, gushing review from me. Such is the case with The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali.
The Stationery Shop is a gorgeous story that had the rare power to make me cry. Ms. Kamali’s story of love and loss is actually quite difficult to read. Without even realizing it, she makes you so vested in Roya and Bahman’s relationship that before you know it, you are afraid to read any further because your heart hurts SO much at the thought of what causes their separation. At the same time, you have to find out what happens because there is no way that the two would leave each other without some sort of intervention. And yes, my heart literally did hurt from all the pain and tension.
An added bonus of this exquisite novel is the story of Iran. We get to see how the country was before the coup that led to the Shah gaining control as well as glimpses of the toll the war with Iraq had on its citizens. If you are like me, you only know of Iran as “the enemy,” so I relished the opportunity to learn more about the country and its customs before the US interfered and kicked off the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.
The Stationery Shop is haunting. The longing and permanent sense of loss Roya has for Bahman are very visceral emotions. Towards the end, when you understand the truth behind their separation, your frustration at their situation will keep you awake at night. All while crying at their loss because everyone deserves to live with the love of their lives. The intensity of The Stationery Shop blew me away with its intensity. I don’t regret much, but I do regret waiting over a year to read this amazing story.