Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Saffron Kitchen - Yasmin Crowther

the saffron kitchen
yasmin crowther
c. 2006
258 pages

*may contain spoilers*

This was the third book read for the Expanding Horizons Challenge (see sidebar). This was my Middle Eastern choice, set in both London and Iran. I had a really hard time getting into this book. I had to read the first section three or four times before I finally pressed on.

This is the story of Maryam Mazar, who left Iran as a young woman and has made a life and a family for herself in London. Her daughter, Sara, is grown up with a husband of her own and a baby on the way. Maryam's sister dies in Iran, and her son Saeed is sent to live with Maryam in London. His visit brings Maryam's past, which has always made her somewhat detached from her family, back to haunt her and after her actions cause tragic results for Sara, she feels compelled to return to Iran, to the family and village and love she was forced to leave behind so many years ago. Sara follows her mother to Iran to learn for herself of her mother's past.

I felt this was a decent book, but I had a few problems with it. Like I said, I had a hard time starting it, but once I got to the flashback of Maryam growing up in Iran I really enjoyed it. But I had some trouble again once the flashback was over and we returned to modern day. I think one major problem was I couldn't see Maryam the young woman and Maryam the wife and mother being the same person. I liked her as a young woman, sympathized with her and enjoyed her spunk and spirit. However, as an adult I couldn't stand her. It was hard to sympathize with her, even when you find out the whole story of her examination (which I assumed had happened before it was even revealed). Even when you know that she went through some horrific events, that doesn't excuse her treatment of Saeed or Edward or Sara. And in the end, you can't be totally happy with her and Ali finding each other again when you know the extreme hurt that Edward is experiencing.


1 comment:

Melissa said...

Oh, good. I'm glad it wasn't just me. It's nice to read a fairly objective review of this one... :)