In what is certain to be one of the most talked-about fiction debuts of the year, Yasmin Crowther paints a magnificent portrait of betrayal and retribution set against a backdrop of Irans tumultuous history, dramatic landscapes, and cultural beauty. The story begins on a blustery day in London, when Maryam Mazars dark secrets and troubled past surface violently with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara. Burdened by guilt, Maryam leaves her comfortable English home for the remote village in Iran where she was raised and disowned by her father. When Sara decides to follow her she learns the price that her mother had to pay for her freedom and of the love she left behind.
Poetic, haunting, and brilliantly crafted, The Saffron Kitchen is sure to entrance fans of Jhumpa Lahiris The Namesake and Amy Tans The Joy Luck Club.
The title of Crowther's first novel might lead prospective readers to believe that The Saffron Kitchen is the latest addition to that comforting sub-genre of "foodie-novels" that feed the mind and whet the appetite in equal measure by interspersing tasty recipes into the plot. This is not the case, in fact food takes a definite back seat to themes of culture, family and identity as we follow one woman's struggle to find happiness as she is pulled between two very different worlds. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Crowther's debut is spellbinding, and her cross-cultural perception and empathy are illuminating and affecting.
Though Crowther builds an evocative portrait of Iran and the painful pull of two cultures, too much of the novel hinges on an overly enigmatic character and her vague longing for the indefinable idea of home.
Starred Review. ..a wonderfully intricate debut novel. Crowther, ...powerfully depicts Maryam's wrenching romantic and nationalistic longings, exploring the potency of heritage and the pain of exile.
The Guardian, London
Absorbing family drama ... an unusual and satisfying read.
Daily Telegraph, London
The Saffron Kitchen marks Yasmin Crowther out as a novelist of exceptional honesty and grace.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by T. Borgelin I ate and drank in every aromatic I ate and drank in every aromatic word. I was afraid to laugh for fear that I would soon cry and afraid to cry for fear that I would not be able to stop. I smelled the saffron and black tea and mint and sadness and bittersweet moments. I want to... Read More
Rated of 5
by Tara is it me or the book??? English is my third language... but that has not prevent me from enjoying James Joyce, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison or H D Thoureau ... It has not prevented me from enjoying Anita Damant, Arundhiti Roy Khaled Hosseini or Elizabeth Gilbert...... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sheila Karron Incredible read I have about 40 pages left and I cannot put the book down. It has been a long time since I was so involved with a novel. I cried, I laughed , and I felt such emotion for each of the characters. The book gives such wonderful insight into the... Read More
A Short History of Iran
If your recollection of the recent
history of Iran is a little rusty, this
brief background should refresh your
memory of the events that form the
backdrop to Maryam's childhood:
Iran's 4,000 year history is summed up
by Dr Saeed in The Saffron Kitchen.
Referring to Iran before and after the
1979 revolution he says, "We were
welcomed around the world for our oil,
yes, but also for our culture, our
civilization ..... Now a quarter century
later, if you have an Iranian passport,
people here, the authorities, think
you're a terrorist, someone who may have
a bomb strapped to their belly...."
Once the center of a major empire, by
the 17th century Iran had lost much
territory to various European countries
such as Portugal, Great Britain, Russia
Written in a lush, lyrical style, infused with the flavors and scents of Middle Eastern food, and spiced with history and fable, Crescent is a sensuous love story and a gripping tale of risk and commitment. The reading guide includes a number of recipes to share with friends and family!
Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumphs of two distinct cultures this is an infectious, richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes - a delectable
journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.
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