BookBrowse Reviews The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther

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The Saffron Kitchen

by Yasmin Crowther

The Saffron Kitchen
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2006, 272 pages
    Aug 2007, 272 pages

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A passionate and timely debut about mothers and daughters, roots and exile, from the streets of Iran to the suburbs of London. 1st Novel

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, often 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.

Maryam Mazar was born and grew up in Mashhad in the Khorassan province of Eastern Iran. A strong willed and determined girl growing up in 1950s Iran, she is determined not to follow in the traditional path ordained for her, instead she has ambitions to become a nurse. Her happiest days are the ...

About the Author
Like Sara, Yasmin Crowther is the product of an Anglo-Iranian household (Iranian mother and British father). She describes herself as feeling like she is a part of both places but not fully understood by either. One of the reasons she wrote The Saffron Kitchen, her first novel, was to try and communicate how difficult it is to bridge both worlds, and yet how fundamentally essential it feels to be able to make that bridge.

Her mother, like Maryam in The Saffron Kitchen, grew up in Mashhad, and spent her summers in a village which is the basis of the fictional Mazareh. Like Maryam, her mother also came to England in her twenties; but there the similarity between Crowther's protagonist and her mother ends - she assures us The Saffron Kitchen is entirely fictional.

She ...

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