The Saffron Kitchen PDF ↠ The Saffron PDF or

The Saffron Kitchen ❰Reading❯ ➾ The Saffron Kitchen Author Yasmin Crowther – A passionate and timely debut about mothers and daughters roots and exile from the streets of Iran to the suburbs of LondonIn what is certain to be one of the most talked about fiction debuts of the y A passionate and timely debut about mothers and daughters roots and exile from the streets of Iran to the suburbs of LondonIn what is certain to be one of the most talked about fiction debuts of the year Yasmin Crowther paints a magnificent portrait of betrayal and retribution set against a backdrop of Iran’s tumultuous history dramatic landscapes and cultural beauty The The Saffron PDF or story begins on a blustery day in London when Maryam Mazar’s dark secrets and troubled past surface violently with tragic conseuences for her pregnant daughter Sara Burdened by guilt Maryam leaves her comfortable English home for the remote village in Iran where she was raised and disowned by her father When Sara decides to follow her she learns the price that her mother had to pay for her freedom and of the love she left behind Poetic haunting and brilliantly crafted The Saffron Kitchen is sure to entrance fans of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.

10 thoughts on “The Saffron Kitchen

  1. Amber Amber says:

    I don't know why I keep trying to read books about Iran They always leave me feeling frustrated and irritated The last one I read Reading Lolita in Tehran did the same thing to me although at least I felt like I was part of a graduate level book club It was smart well written and academic even if it did leave me feeling emotionally empty and discouraged about the Middle East This book The Saffron Kitchen was unconnected and abstruse without meaning to be The writing is mediocre the character's voice was hollow and you it's just plain hard to like a book about the complexity of a mother daughter relationship when you just can't stand either the mother or the daughter Ironically enough the only characters I could stomach with any semblance of respect were the husbands Plus the whole Iranian thing was just annoying there was a bunch of longing for Iran but without any explanation This woman has this pretty terrible life in Iran and she longs to escape and be than what women could be in Iran So she flees to England and then after living there for 30 years turns her back on her husband and daughter and goes back to live like a peasant with her former would be boyfriend And then she begs her daughter to come see her life there Blah It was too disjointed and fluffy to summon any feeling but boredom

  2. Stephanie Anze Stephanie Anze says:

    25 starsAs Sara is sitting down with Maryam her mother and Saeed her mother's nephew she does not yet that this day will end in tragedy After hearing harsh words from Maryam Saeed bolts from the table and heads for the bridge Sara chases after him and successfully holds him back but not before being kicked on the stomach Sara miscarries that day Maryam feeling responsible takes off to Iran unable to repress her past no longer In trying to understand Maryam Sara goes to her in Iran and finally begins to see her mother in a different lightUpon finishing this book I found myself torn I like the concept and the background but found the execution lacking I was relieved to see that other reviwers felt the same way This book was on my TBR list for a while and I thought that it was time to read it Initially I thought the book was going to take place in the kitchen dealing with the flavors and scents of Iran I thought that saffron was going to have a prominent role That was not the case The narrative is focused primarily on Maryam an immigrant from Iran she left her homeland and eventually married in England Most of her life in London she has not talked about her past but having been the cause behind Sara's miscarriage all that changes Maryam's past begins to unravel and she flees to the last place that felt like home to Iran Maryam is the daughter of a general and her freedom came at a cost Nice concept but disappointing execution I wish the author would have put as much effort in the characterization of Maryam as she did in the beautiful descriptions of Iran For all that Maryam went through we really don't much about her Her character felt detached and I think that was a problem with the prose It was difficult to connect and relate to any of the charactersFor some reason this work feels unfinished for me I found the switching between the first and third person narrative confusing I still do not uite get how the title connects with the overall narrative Its not that I disliked Maryam her past was difficult but the prose made her seem detached and somewhat flat in her characterization For a relatively short book it felt long and not in a good way Where the author shines is in her descrptions of Iran of the customs and traditions The way she speaks about the land is great and also the way she speaks of the families That was a major theme in the book family and the ties that bind them and break them apart I really feel for Edward Maryam's husband and thought he deserved better I really wanted to love this book but do not regret reading it Overall this book was just okay but it could have been better

  3. Shovelmonkey1 Shovelmonkey1 says:

    This is a well written book which is easy to read and for that I've awarded it three stars as it helped some long commutes to sail by fairly effortlessly and let me tell you when your commute happens to go through Wigan land of wind tunnel platforms and limited shelter this is no mean feat I suspect that a lot of the description and some of the experiences in the book are somewhat autobiographical with Crowther drawing on her own background and experience of a one step removed Iranian Culture I did enjoy her descriptions of the Iranian landscape though as the steppe and mountainous regions are very like many places I have lived and worked in Turkey and at times I could almost smell the dust after the rain or feel the heat ebbing out of the earth as the sun sets behind another dun coloured mound Always a nice thing to reminisce about when it's dark and cold outsideThe subject matter is something which can be engaged with by people of all backgrounds regardless of age or cultural divide The young will always battle to be free of the constraints of their parents Parents will always try to harness and temper a spirited child who seems likely to flout their will And freuently there will be terrible and unpleasant conseuences A further theme is that the wrongs which are done to us in childhood will remain with us like unseen shadows for the rest of our lives Again this is true How many can still think back to a smack or an unjust punishment by a parent or to the haunting taunts of a bully or persecutor? I would imagine most people can But life is a tapestry of experience and once you start unpicking the knots the rest will unravel too The Saffron Kitchen is a book about the unravellingThis sort of book is not normally my thing but I wanted to read a few books on Iran by Iranian writers and this seemed a convenient and pain free place to start No startling revelations or hidden truths here but a pleasant read when the winter is drawing in

  4. Shannon (Giraffe Days) Shannon (Giraffe Days) says:

    After a terrible accident causes Sara to lose her baby an accident she blames her mother Maryam for Maryam in her grief and guilt leaves England for her home country of Iran and the village of Mazareh where she was once as a girl the happiest But the past cannot be outrun and Sara is left struggling to understand her moody mother the things she said and what secrets she is keeping so tightly to herself When Maryam invites Sara to join her in Mazareh Sara goes thinking hoping she'll be able to bring her mother back and put her family back together again Once in Iran Sara confronts her mother and finally learns what Maryam left behind all those years ago Between the cold winter plains of Mazareh and the bustling city of London Sara and Maryam both come closer to a true understanding of homeI struggled with this with reading it and with now writing this I was left feeling so ambivalent about it confused even and disappointed On the one hand I loved the story But on the other hand the way it was told the narrative structure the voice and prose style all converged to make it as hard as possible to connect with the story and care about the characters It starts out so promisinglyStrange not to know that you're alive or even that you're about to die That's what it must have felt like for my unborn baby I'd been kicked in the gut by my young cousin as I hauled him back from trying to jump over the bridge's railings into the old gren water rushing out to sea My mother's scream rang in my ears as she ran toward us and the world froze the churn of the Thames at high tide the rumble of going home school traffic and the tremble of the bridge In that moment my baby started to die p3Of course this struck a nerve with me being a new mother with a healthy 1 year old I don't want to imagine the pain of losing him of him suddenly not existing it feels like he was always here with us waiting to be born a part of our lives Sara's loss cut through me blunt and profoundShe blames her mother for what happened on the bridge because Maryam had struck Saeed her recently orphaned teenaged nephew only newly arrived in England for not being tough enough Bullied at his new school grieving for his mother Mara and slapped by his aunt at his new home Saeed is a uiet polite boy you feel instant sympathy for and that doesn't change Maryam at first seems like a cold hearted cow and I could understand Sara's uiet anger towards her It's always been hard to understand Maryam who has times of withdrawing into herself in a dark way especially when news from Iran arrives either by mail or the news media Sara's very English father Edward has always loved Maryam and seems to have endless patience for her but there's always been a gap between them a cultural and shared history one he can't bridge and Maryam doesn't want toMaryam's thoughts have always stayed in Iran really in Mashhad the city she lived in with her family and Mazareh the village the peasants who farmed her family's land lived in In Masshad she was the middle daughter of a general in the Shah's army an important man who took a much younger second wife in order to have a son leaving Maryam's mother forgotten in her room Maryam and her sisters Mairy the eldest and Mara the youngest are all very different Maryam is the rebellious one the one who pushes and provokes her father the most by wanting out of her life than simply being someone's wife and the mother of children She wants to be a nurse in Tehran and with the help of the family doctor Ahlavi is allowed to help out at his clinic When disaster strikes it comes in many guises and Maryam gets her wish but only by being cast off by her father Again with Dr Ahlavi's help she emigrates to England and it's in London that she meets Edward But all down the years giving birth to Sara and witnessing her country's dramatic change during the violent Revolution of 1978 9 Maryam was never really a part of England or of her family's life When Sara arrives in Mazareh she finds a different kind of Maryam someone perhaps she can finally reach and demand answers ofFor most of the short novel Sara narrates in first person This present day narration is juxtaposed against the story of Maryam's past told from Maryam's perspective in first person When Sara arrives in Iran though it switches to only third person voice told from both Maryam and Sara's perspectives I can understand why Crowther decided to do this but it was still disjointed I enjoyed Sara's voice but it would have been smoother to use third person throughout This criticism sounds even harsh and unfair when I consider that I'm currently reading another book that does the same thing but I'm really enjoying it it's than just the choice of voice or the switching of voice but the prose itself And that was my biggest sticking point with this bookFor such a short novel you'd think you'd read it uickly But instead I struggled especially after the first bit The prose just didn't flow for me; it's crammed full of detail and little descriptions and thoughts and I could never relax into it It lacked longer scenes a still camera instead layering many bits one atop the other suished into a single paragraph making it hard for me to imagine it all as I read I'll pick a passage at random to see if you can get the ideaDays passed and the edges of my body returned I felt the rise and fall of my chest the soft stroke of Mara's fingers on my cheek I would lie against Fatima as she put morsels of food in my mouth fresh bread cheese a slice of apple The tastes burst on my tongue I do not know how long it was before I opened my eyes again and saw the early evening light through the window I lay still and watched the dust spiral A cockerel crowed in the distance and seemed to be answered from a minaret p83It's a very nice passage the language is fine by fine I don't mean good or acceptable but fine as in pleasing and also a touch elegant but time often passes in this condensed abstract manner and characters are suddenly there and gone again and it's the abruptness of it that unsettles me I never get to really envision a scene I know I picked a paragraph that seems suited to the uick passing of time it does start with days passed but it all reads like this I couldn't help but think that the story would have been successful overall if Crowther had made it a bit longer to better flesh it outSimilarly the characters as interesting as they were were like chalk drawings rather than full colour depictions That said it was Sara and Maryam's story that interested me the most which is why I wanted to understand better and see Sara is distinctly English despite mixed parentage Having an Iranian mother meant she had a rich and varied upbringing culturally speaking but she never struggled with her identity or a feeling of home like her mother did Maryam I could sympathise with in a way I know what it's like to be an immigrant in a country where you don't really feel like you belong that isn't home whatever that means and where you still get blank looks when you say certain things But my experience is nothing like Maryam's You couldn't get two culturally different countries than England and Iran and I'm not surprised Maryam was so homesick all the time the trouble with it is that within Iran she felt like she had no home to go back to And what is home? That is a central theme with the book Is it where love is family? Is it the place where you were born and grew up that leaves such an impression on your soul your character? And what if you have two competing loves for people in two different places? Ali in Iran Sara in England it tears Maryam she suffers That came across clearlySome passages that I particularly liked on the theme of home comingAt last she lifted her face to Ali's and saw the lines of his years It was the same air she had breathed a moment before but now Maryam felt life in her veins She handed him their book the pages falling open where they always had the world which seems to lie before us like a land of dreams and Ali looked at her his eyes finding hers so uickly with no need to speak There beneath the surface of reflections was their lost world He would reach out and touch it if he could p138Ali looked at her outstretched fingers and she followed his eyes to the gold band and all it stood for her other winters and another life He cradled her hand in his palm Maryam he said let us make this one day ours A kind frown played across his eyes as he gently slid the ring over her knuckle and nail smudged with earth He placed it in her palm It wasn't a Muslim marriage Maryam shook her head as much to herself as at his words So comeShe stared at her palm not moving remembering black rain on a London pavement and her white bridal veil billowing in the wind She closed her hand into a fist Just one day It had existed in her mind for ever it seemed its prospects loss and promise stretching back and forth through the years No Ali she said at last Not like this Of all people you must accept me as I am She took the ring and slid it back on her finger her chest tight angry and sad pp157 8Sara sat back on her haunches and watched It was beautiful timeless She closed her eyes and felt the chill on her skin breathing in the salty earth smell of rocks For a moment she pictured her father descending through the clouds on the battered old sofa from the loft a glass of red wine in his hand and smiled wistful and sad at the thought of him so far away p212This isn't a story to teach you very much about 20th21st century Iranian history or culture; in fact it relies on you having some background on which to draw in order to understand the events that contributed to changing Maryam's life when she was just a teenager But you do get a feel for the place and what it was like growing up there at a certain time and in a certain class It's hard to understand the chronology not just of Iran but of Maryam and Sara's lives and I was confused over whether Sara had been to Iran before I had thought not but at the end she says something about going to the mosue in Mashhad before Such confusing or lacking details get in the way of the story and are nothing that good editing couldn't fix With this debut novel Crowther shows promise She successfully captured the immigrant experience the clash of culture the misunderstandings that arise without resorting to cliche or melodrama Her prose displays some lyrical lines and lovely observations and I appreciated that she neither dumbed down Iranian life or gave too much exposition though it could have been fleshed out without resorting to an omniscient narrative voice to explain things to us ignorant readers

  5. Kelly Roll Kelly Roll says:

    I listened to this as an audio book The two narrators were uite good The story is basically Maryam's an Iranian woman who came to live in London when she was a young woman As the story opens her daughter Sara is pregnant and Maryam's young nephew has just arrived to live with his aunt Sara loses her baby as an indirect result of Maryam bullying her nephew Said Maryam then abruptly departs the country and returns to IranThe story has three narratives; Maryam as a young woman living in Iran; her story after she returns to Iran; and Sara's story as she attempts to unravel her mother's actionsHer story as a young woman is the most interesting and paints the most vivid picture Once the story moves into the present I found Maryam to be an unlikeable person and rather flat I would have liked to have known her as an adult but we never get a clear picture of her other than the fact that she is unhappy We don't know why she came to England what she did before or after she married or why she married a man she didn't loveSome of the scenes the author sets up to push forward the scene make no sense to me either Why was Said sent to England when his father was still living and he had other relatives in Iran? I believe it was simply so his actions would act as catalyst for Maryam to leave the country I also found it hard to believe that Maryam would leave the country immediately after her daughter miscarries I have so many other uestions as well would Ali never really marry why does he not attempt to contact her after she leaves for nurses training? Maryam's mother is another enigma I suspect we were to draw parallels between her and Maryam but we know so little about her yet she could have been interesting Why did she marry Maryam's father where is she from originally that she speaks Russian?Would Maryam really be able to so easily readapt to living in Iran after 30 years away surely England would have changed her in some way? I wish the author had written scenes not merely to make things happen but rather to add depth to her characters Overall i'd say an interesting but flawed attempt

  6. Layla Layla says:

    This book is about an Iranian woman whose traumatic experiences during childhood completely alter the course of her life and ultimately affect the family she has built in a foreign land Crowther really understands Iran and Iranians; she gets the details the saffron the gold bangles the tea from samovars and she gets the big issues especially the family name For a first novel I'm impressed

  7. Michelle Michelle says:

    I liked the idea of the book than I liked the book But I'm still looking forward to discussing it at book clubAt times I was distracted by the differing points of view Crowther switches from first person to third person and back again There were some chapters where I wasn't sure who was talking and even when I knew who was talking it was unclear the timeframe Was it present day or 40 yrs ago?At the end Maryam explains the big secret of her life and it ended up being rather anti climatic That part of the book could have been expanded uite a bit but as is it was kind of a let down Not that the circumstance wasn't tragic but it sure wasn't a secret or a surprise to the reader I liked the character of Sara very much and found her much interesting than her mother Maryam was presented as this defiant strong willed young girl who really turned out to just be a victim and someone who made some pitiful and hurtful choices

  8. Carla Carla says:

    I'm loving this book It's emotionally a bit intense I keep wanting to switch the pov to the mother right now it's first person from the daughter Maybe I can just relate to the mother and wish I could hear her thoughts UPDATE I finished the book and really liked the story It's a love story on so many levels love of a man and woman love of a mother and daughter and the love a person has for a place and how that is tied up with the feelings for a person I could relate to the mother than the daughter mother was multidimensional compared to daughter I do wish it had been first person through the mother but the fact she was a puzzle may be what pushed the story along Altogether I would recommend

  9. Safiya Safiya says:

    The Saffron Kitchen is told from the perspective of Sara a half Iranian and half British woman living in London; as well as her mother Maryam who left Iran as a young woman to make a new lifeOne day in London a tragic event involving pregnant Sara leads Maryam to leave London and go to Iran for how long no one knows Her daughter Sara who is married is left with her father to pick up the pieces Maryam left behindThe story flits between Sara in London Maryam in Iran as a child growing up and Maryam in the present as an adult Sara and Maryam have a difficult relationship and Sara is trying to understand her mother and why she has acted certain ways throughout her childhoodI enjoyed the parts of the story about Maryam’s childhood in her remote village in Iran; her difficult relationship with her father and how she finds solace in her mother figure Fatima Maryam grows up resenting the woman’s place in Iran She does not want to get married and lose her independence or her spirit After feeling guilty about the tragic event in London Maryam decides she has to go back to Iran and she seems to suddenly have a unstoppable desire to stay there no matter what the conseuences are This aspect of the story I did not find believable due to the way Maryam’s resentment of the norms and traditions regarding women in Iran were portrayed so heavilyNeither Maryam nor Sara were particularly likeable and I found it hard to feel a connection with either one of them The plot seemed to make jumps which didn’t make sense and were not made believable Maryam’s past and her father cutting off all ties with her before she came to Britain was built up a lot throughout the book however the climax didn’t live up to the suspense that had been created and I expected from itI had been looking forward to reading this and I expected to be captivated by it but I was somewhat disappointed Overall the plot in this story was lacklustre and the characters did not have enough depth for me However I enjoyed certain aspects of the book especially the scenes of Maryam’s upbringing and the setting of Iran510

  10. Alex Nye Alex Nye says:

    I am currently reading The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther I picked this up on Saturday in a charity shop browsing absent mindedly through the shelves of discarded books so I approached it with an open mind It was published in 2006 I haven't finished reading it yet but I have to say I am absolutely loving it than I have enjoyed a book for a while And the Reason? A beautifully lyrical and poetic writing style and a main character the mother Maryam that I can really identify with The characters have completely different experiences from my own it's mainly set in Iran but so far the author writes with such honesty that you really get inside the character's hearts and minds Maryam as a young girl of 16 is a free spirit living a fairly privileged life in Iran but resists the restrictions of a patriarchal society At the same time the troubled historical backdrop of Iran and the Revolution is rumbling away in the background dictating what will happen next It's a book about what it's like to cross cultures to straddle two completely different worlds and it's also a book about the conflicts and barriers of being a woman in whatever societyIt's giving me a lot of pleasure to read one thing about picking up a book second hand is that I'm always fascinated by the inscriptions inside wondering who gave the book to who and why Inside this one is one big bold word BARBARA That seems appropriate as it was my mother's name; she died the year that this was published and in addition it's a book very much about mothers and daughters

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