Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Pomegranate Soup

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Pomegranate Soup

by Marsha Mehran

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 256 pages

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Marsha Mehran was born in Iran, on the eve of the Islamic Revolution. Amidst the increasing chaos her parents decided to emigrate to America - they were luckier than most as they had a modest nest egg and letters of acceptance from the University of Arizona, but they needed visas. On November 4, 1979, her father planned to file their visa applications with the American Embassy, but a band of revolutionary students bombarded the consulate and took the employees hostage. This momentous turn of events, known to all Iranians as 'The Revolution', launched her family into a peripatetic existence that crossed five continents, numerous cultures, and equipped her with a trunk full of adventures, both public and personal.

With the embassy under siege, her parents were forced to abandon their dreams of American academia - so they moved to Buenos Aires and opened a Middle Eastern café, El Pollo Loco (The Crazy Chicken). Marsha attended a Scottish private academy where the Bagpipe ceremonies and kilted school uniforms instilled in her a lifetime love for all things Celtic. Meanwhile, at four years old, she was learning three languages simultaneously (Farsi at home, English at school, and Spanish in the streets).

In 1984, amid threats of military coups and a teetering Argentinean economy, her parents were forced to sell their beloved café and move to Miami, Florida. When she was 14 her parents divorced and she went to live with her mother in Australia; then at 19 she left for New York City with $200 in her pocket. She met her husband, Christopher, in an Irish pub where he worked as a bartender). They spent the next two years in Ireland and now divide their time between Ireland and Brooklyn.

I caught up with Marsha by email a few days ago to see how things were going on her new book and she tells me that a sequel is in the works, which will be larger in scope than Pomegranate Soup, following up on the Aminpour sisters a year and a half after they first arrived in Ballinacroagh.  She describes it as "a story of Iranian mothers and their Iranian-American daughters. A very female-oriented book, filled with feminine power and magic."

She also says that she's looking forward to being back in New York at the end of September to start her national author tour, and that she is "so looking forward to being back on warmer soil, and to meeting new readers."  She ends by saying, "the paperback cover is so beautiful, it makes me tingle with excitement!"

This article was originally published in August 2005, and has been updated for the September 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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