Excerpt from Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pomegranate Soup

by Marsha Mehran

Pomegranate Soup
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 240 pages
    Sep 2006, 256 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"If you ask me, Estelle Delmonico has better things to do than break her back in that dustheap again," said Fiona Athey, chief stylist and owner of the salon that bore her name.

Fifty pounds and another lifetime ago, Fiona had been on her way to great glories, reenacting the entire opus of Irish fairy tales before delighted audiences in the theatrical capital of Ireland, Galway City. But an illicit romance with Gerhard, a German puppeteer, had rendered her bed bound with a pregnancy that would produce the bane of her existence, her seventeen-year-old daughter, Emer. After having her child, Fiona suffered a double blow of indignity when she discovered Gerhard under the theater rafters, in a compromising position with her very own understudy. The upstart bottled blonde – a primary reason why Fiona stuck to cutting hair and left coloring to her sister Joan – had taken advantage of Fiona's incapacitation to move in on her man and her starring role. Heartbroken, and vowing never to tread the boards again, Fiona had returned to her hometown with baby Emer in tow, taking over her sickly father's barbershop and eventually turning it into a nifty little business. Athey's Shear Delight was popular with the town's children and women folk, but most men steered clear of its peroxide-filled rooms – mainly to spare themselves the embarrassment of donning one of Fiona's flowery smocks. Pass Athey's Shear Delight on any given afternoon, and you will find it a hotbed of estrogen, where gossip mingles with the acetate fumes of nail polish and hair spray.

Fiona, who had endured tittering giggles and reproachful shakes of heads when she first arrived back in town, usually refrained from voicing her opinions. She detested the constant gnawing condemnations that went inside her small, pink salon but understood the necessity of such gossip for the health of her business. Because of her neutrality, when the odd moment arose that Fiona Athey actually did make her thoughts known, anyone within earshot would pause and pay her particular deference.

"I'd say Estelle's done the smart thing and rented the place out," Fiona reasoned. "That might be our new neighbor, so. Let's hope it's not another salon, that's all."

"Sure, I was walkin' past the other day and saw the lights on through the small bit of window there. Something was cooking. I can't put my finger on it, but it wasn't anything like the Eye-talian food in that spaghetti place in Westport. It was something different all together," Evie keenly offered.

"Humph! Well, I don't care who they are or what they do, so long as that there hussy doesn't go distracting my boys from their Leaving Cert. They'll be going to seminary school whether they like it or not," Joan retorted, pursing her lips and releasing the vertical blinds with a snap.

Fiona and Evie both nodded, well-acquainted as they were with the drama of Joan Donnelly's identical twin boys, Peter and Michael. Convinced that her precious boys were intended for a higher power, Joan had been pushing nightly catechisms into their mushy brains since an early age. Her ecclesiastical ambitions, however, had done little to curb the twins' appetite for weekend carjackings, brothels, and drunken cow-tipping parties. The boys were a constant source of worry for poor, neurotic Joan, and the real reason behind her falling scalp tissue. Lucky for Joan, she was not watching when her devilish sons nearly knocked Layla off her feet in front of Fadden's Mini-Mart.

"How's it going?" Peter winked at Layla as his brother let out a low whistle.

Layla, having just sidestepped Benny Corcoran's admiration, was not prepared for the wily twins' attentions. With an enchanting combination of teenage timidity and self-assurance, she nodded briefly in their direction before ducking into the mini-mart.

Excerpted from Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran. Copyright © 2005 by Marsha Mehran. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!