From "one of Iran's most important living fiction writers" (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who's searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams. Before he enlisted as a soldier in the Iran–Iraq War and disappeared, Amir Yamini was a carefree playboy whose only concerns were seducing women and riling his religious family. Five years later, his mother and sister Reyhaneh find him in a mental hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, his left arm and most of his memory lost. Amir is haunted by the vision of a mysterious woman whose face he cannot see—the crescent moon on her forehead shines too brightly. He names her Moon Brow. Back home in Tehran, the prodigal son is both hailed as a living martyr to the cause of Ayatollah Khomeini's Revolution and confined as a dangerous madman. His sense of humor, if not...
SUMMARY: If conducting a love affair in modern Iran is not a simple undertaking, then telling the story of that love may be even more difficult. In a country where mere proximity between a man and a woman may be the prologue to deadly sin, where illicit passion is punished by imprisonment, or even death, telling that most redemptive of human narratives becomes the greatest literary challenge. Shahriar Mandanipour evokes a pair of young lovers who find each other despite surreal persecution and repressive parents through coded messages and internet chat rooms; and triumphantly their story entwines with an account of their creatorrs"s struggle. Inventive, darkly comic and profoundly touching,Censoring an Iranian Love Storycelebrates both the unquenchable power of the written word and a love that is doomed, glorious, and utterly real.
The partitioning of British India into independent Pakistan and India in August 1947 occurred in the midst of communal holocaust, with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other. More than 750,000 people were butchered, and 12 million fled their homes—primarily in caravans of bullock-carts—to seek refuge across the new border: it was the largest exodus in history. Sixty-seven years later, it is as if that August never ended.Renowned historian and journalist Dilip Hiro provides a riveting account of the relationship between India and Pakistan, tracing the landmark events that led to the division of the sub-continent and the evolution of the contentious relationship between Hindus and Muslims. To this day, a reasonable resolution to their dispute has proved elusive, and the Line of Control in Kashmir remains the most heavily fortified frontier in the world, with 400,000 soldiers arrayed on either side.Since partition, there have been several acute...
“A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan.” —Adriana Trigiani
Set against the backdrop of Iran’s rich, turbulent history, this exquisite debut novel is a powerful story of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. When we first meet Noor, she is living in San Francisco, missing her beloved father, Zod, in Iran. Now, dragging her stubborn teenage daughter, Lily, with her, she returns to Tehran and to Café Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Café Leila, still run by Zod, has stayed blessedly the same—it is a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family of staff and regulars.
As Noor revisits her Persian childhood, she must rethink who she is—a mother, a daughter, a woman estranged from her marriage and from her life in California. And together, she and Lily get swept up in the beauty and brutality of Tehran.
Bijan’s vivid, layered story, at once tender and elegant, funny and sad, weaves together the complexities of history, domesticity, and loyalty and, best of all, transports readers to another culture, another time, and another emotional landscape.
“A love letter to family, food, and culture, The Last Days of Café Leila is a beautiful narrative with an undeniable ache for belonging at its center.”—Refinery29
“A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan. This debut novel has it all, a compelling story of family, faith and love told with a longing heart and an appetite for life beyond the small Iranian village where Noor's roots are planted and her wings were born. This intergenerational story, of a mother and her daughter, dramatized in the moment where it lives is a feast for the reader’s senses and soul. What a stunning novel! Inspiring, evocative and emotionally satisfying.” —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife
“This lyrical debut novel, an immigrant saga and coming-of-age story, provides a tantalizing look at Iran pre- and post-revolution. Poignant and absorbing, the book explores the pull not only of family, but of the place we first call home.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Bijan has crafted a richly layered story of the deep connections within a family, resilient links that survive tragedy and distance.”—Booklist
“Within the captivating setting of a postrevolutionary Iran, Donia Bijan brings to life a family torn apart by loss, tragedy, and distance, whose abiding connections refuse to die. A sensitively conceived, beautifully written story.”—Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author of Secret Daughter
“The novel is composed like an extravagant meal . . . Bijan invites her characters to break bread and share their stories. A-.”—The A.V. Club
“The story unfolds like the taste of a delicate dessert that needs to be savored . . . Is this really a book about the last days of a restaurant, or those of a legacy that spans generations? Readers will enjoy this novel filled the idea of homecoming and motherhood, and a rare glimpse into post-revolution Iran, and most importantly the food.”—New York Journal of Books
“Donia Bijan writes words that are quiet, rich and beautiful as she unfolds Noor’s story, and the reader is drawn completely into the family’s lives . . . a story that you’ll be unable to put down. You’ll be both entranced and surprised by this incredible novel, which introduces Persian life to readers who may not be familiar with it.”
“The narrative nimbly leaps from one character to another and from past to present, revealing the much-appreciated backstory at just the right pace. Bijan, a native Iranian, writes of the beauty and customs of her homeland with fondness. She doesn’t shy away from the intense political climate . . . and she perfectly captures the universal pleasure of cooking for others.”—BookPage
“In her debut novel, Iranian American chef and writer Donia Bijan stirs up a powerful, nourishing story of family, love and loss . . . a tribute to everyday resilience, love in the face of deep grief and the power of a good meal to nourish body and soul.”—Shelf Awareness
“Donia Bijan’s exquisitely rendered tale reminds us that the bonds of food, family and most of all love make life worth living even at its darkest moments. A story worth savoring, sharing, and taking to heart.”—Jamie Brenner, author of The Wedding Sisters and The Forever Summer“The Last Days at Café Leila* is a novel that will engage all of your senses and then make away with your heart, as well. This is the poignantly told story of a family – and of the brilliant and beautiful culture of Persia, diminished but not destroyed. It is the triumphant story of a woman making her way from apology to full-throated song.”
—Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love
“Donia Bijan’s moving portrayal of love and loss in the aftermath of The Iranian Revolution will break your heart into a million pieces then nurse it back to health word by word, recipe by recipe, story by story.”
—Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance
“A moving portrait of a character caught between two worlds . . . [Bijan] describes the dishes of Café Leila in delicious detail.”
—San Jose Mercury News
“Finely written, lively, and at times nail-biting read — the work of a storyteller capable of evoking the colors, smells and flavor of an environment.”
—Palo Alto Almanac
“Donia Bijan’s The Last Days of Café Leila* captures your heart. A powerful, out-of-the-ball-park, fall-in-love-with-every-main-character novel, [which] juxtaposes a deliciously rich narrative of Persian food with a family searching for answers, understanding and redemption. The former chef highlights the beauty of each character, replete with faults, flaws, talents and purpose along with succulent fresh foods and pastries.”—La Jolla Village NewsAbout the Author
Donia Bijan graduated from UC Berkeley and Le Cordon Bleu. After presiding over many of San Francisco’s acclaimed restaurants and earning awards for her French-inspired cuisine, in 1994 she opened her own restaurant, L’amie Donia, in Palo Alto. She now divides her days between raising her son, teaching, and writing.
A leading expert explains why we fail to understand Iran and offers a new strategy for redefining this crucial relationshipFor more than a quarter of a century, few countries have been as resistant to American influence or understanding as Iran. The United States and Iran have long eyed each other with suspicion, all too eager to jump to conclusions and slam the door. What gets lost along the way is a sense of what is actually happening inside Iran and why it matters. With a new hard-line Iranian president making incendiary pronouncements and pressing for nuclear developments, the consequences of not understanding Iran have never been higher.Ray Takeyh, a leading expert on Iran's politics and history, has written a groundbreaking book that demystifies the Iranian regime and shows how the fault lines of Iran's domestic politics serve to explain its behavior. In Hidden Iran, he explains why this country has so often confounded American...
'I'm sitting down to write the opening lines of this book a year to the day since my mum died. She is constantly in my thoughts, not just because I miss her terribly, but because she was the inspiration for this collection of stories about women who have come from very different places to make a new life in rural Australia.'City Girl, Country Girl brings together the stories of women who have left lives in the city or another country to build a new future in places where knowing how to milk a cow or drive a tractor stand them in far better stead than an ability to negotiate rush-hour traffic or find a good cappuccino.It ranges in scope from the classic outback story of Sarah Durack in the late 1800s, to the author's own mother's experiences of swapping wartime Melbourne for a dairy farm on the Limestone Coast, to the present day. City Girl, Country Girl is a compelling and fascinating account of these women's journeys as they struggle through personal...
In the closing years of the rule of the Shah, young Talkhoon lives with her sister, Taara, with her grandmother Khanum-Jaan, her grandfather Baba-Ji, and her disturbing uncle, Asaad, in the house known as The Drum Tower in Tehran. In the tower, Baba-Ji continues his life's work, an unfinishable book on the Simorgh, the Bird of Knowledge, but revolution of one sort or another is on the way and Talkhoon's father is in hiding. The girls live with the mystery of their missing mother, and Khanum-Jaan's inexplicable hatred of her. In a book peopled by amazing characters and events, shot through with magic realism, Talkhoon's life, and the life of her country, rush to their inevitable destinies
"There is no Gravelock..."In the dark streets and labyrinthine alleys of the endless city, Tsaeris, an orphan boy, struggles to survive. Relying on his wits and the involuntary generosity of others, he is forced to contend with criminals and the horrors that infest the streets at night.When a run-in with a thieves guild leaves Tsaeris mutilated and partially blinded, he finds himself recruited into a mysterious organization known as The Third Eye Initiative. Trained as one of their agents, Tsaeris finds himself no longer the helpless boy he once was.But orphan boys grow into desperate men and even those who trained him become concerned at the ease with which he takes a life. When those close to him begin to turn up dead, a new sense of self emerges; a self born of the orphan boy and the corruption that has brought him to manhood. To survive, will he have to abandon the last shreds of his humanity and embrace the corruption within?About the AuthorDreaming up fantastical stories since childhood, J.J. Newman was a writer long before he put pen to proverbial paper. He lives in Welland, Ontario with his wife and children, and continues to work on sharing his stories with the world.
The Timbuktu School for Nomads is a unique look at a resilient city and how the nomads pit ancient ways of life against the challenges of the 21st century.The Sahara: a dream-like, far away landscape of Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, The English Patient and Star Wars, and home to nomadic communities whose ways of life stretch back millennia. Today it's a teeth-janglingly dangerous destination, where the threat of jihadists lurks just over the horizon. Following in the footsteps of 16th century traveller Leo Africanus, Nicholas Jubber went on a turbulent adventure to the forgotten places of North Africa and the legendary Timbuktu.Once the seat of African civilization and home to the richest man who ever lived, this mythic city is now scarred by terrorist occupation and is so remote its own inhabitants hail you with the greeting, 'Welcome to the middle of nowhere'. From the cattle markets of the Atlas, across the Western Sahara...
When Arcade Publishing originally contracted this extraordinary collection of poetry and literature, the Department of the Treasury was attempting to censor the publication of works from countries on America's "enemies list." Arcade, along with the PEN American Center, the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, and the Association of American University Presses, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the United States government. Their landmark case forced the Office of Foreign Assets Control to change their regulations regarding editing and publishing literature in translation, and Arcade is proud to reissue this anthology that showcases the developments in Iranian literature over the past quarter-century. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, the United States has been virtually cut off from that country's culture. Despite severe difficulties imposed by social, political, and economic upheavals, as well as war, repression, and...
For Donia Bijan's family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan's mother's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams.From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France's three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and...
Though the Kurds played a major military and tactical role in the United States' recent war with Iraq, most of us know little about this fiercely independent, long-marginalized people. Now acclaimed journalist Christiane Bird, who riveted readers with her tour of Islamic Iran in Neither East Nor West, travels through this volatile part of the world to tell the Kurds' story, using personal observations and in-depth research to illuminate an astonishing history and vibrant culture. For the twenty-five to thirty million Kurds, Kurdistan is both an actual and a mythical place: an isolated, largely mountainous homeland that has historically offered sanctuary from the treacherous outside world and yet does not exist on modern maps. Parceled out among the four nation-states of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran after World War I, Kurdistan is a divided land with a tragic history, where the indomitable Kurds both celebrate their ancient culture and fight to control their own...