This book is about Roya and Bahman’s touching and heartwarming love story that did not end conventionally. Some would call it sad, but I don’t think so. Instead, the story shows that love is an emotion that can never wither away, can never disappear if it is true. Times may change, people may change, circumstances may change, but this emotion stays rock solid.
The story is set against the historical backdrop of Tehran during the 1950s. Roya and Bahman fall in love when they are seventeen. Their first meeting and several other meetings take place in the stationery shop owned by Mr Fakhri. It is their love for books that brings them together. They promise to spend the rest of their lives together. But fate has something else in store for them. They get separated and never meet for many, many years. Though Roya tries hard to contact the love of her life, she is unable to do so. She is heartbroken and devastated, something which her father cannot see. On her father’s advice, she decides to move on in life and heads to California for college.
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But, although she moves on, Bahman continues to live on in her heart. She settles in America, leading a life that is entirely different from her life in Tehran. And same is the case with Bahman. He, too, moves on but is not able to forget her. Till the end, the two continue to pine for each other.
The book touches the reader’s heart, and though you wish that things could have been different, you also realise that sometimes one has to consider the larger perspective and other people. Things may seem unfair and unjust, but such is life. The author is able to weave in a bit of a surprise element in the story regarding who comes in the way of Roya and Bahman and why. The book has a bittersweet ending.
Two things remained with me after I finished reading the book.
One is the statement made by Roya’s father where he advises his daughters to get a good education. He tells them that education is something that nobody can take away from a person as against all the world’s riches.
Another point is the realisation that Roya gets towards the end of the book, that time is not linear but circular. You do move on in life, but somewhere your past stays on within you, as happened in the case of the two of them. You can’t break away from it.
A poignant and emotional love story; The Stationary Shop of Tehran.
I give it a 4.5/5 rating.