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The Saffron Kitchen [Paperback]

Yasmin Crowther
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 May 2007

On an autumn day in London, the dark secrets and troubled past of Maryam Mazar surface violently with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara, and her newly orphaned nephew, Saeed. Racked with guilt, Maryam is compelled to leave the safe comfort of her suburban home and mild English husband to return to Mazareh, the remote village on Iran's north-eastern border where her story began. There she must face her past and the memories of a life she was forced to leave behind.

In her quest to piece the family back together, Sara follows her mother to Iran, to discover the roots of her unhappiness and to try to bring her home. Far from the terraced streets of London, among the snow-capped mountains and windswept plains that have haunted her mother's dreams for half a century, Sara finally learns about the terrible price Maryam once had to pay for her freedom, and about the love of the man who still waits for her.

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The Saffron Kitchen + Born Under a Million Shadows + The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
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Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus, London (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349119554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349119557
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Yasmin Crowther tells this cross-cultural drama with skill. The writing is restrained but powerful (FINANCIAL TIMES)

This debut novel is a delicate, bittersweet examination of the nature of home and homesickness, and a salient reminder of the way the past can haunt the present with subtle, heart-breaking persistence (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Accomplished...memorable (SUNDAY TIMES)

Lyrical... As a guide to the subtle complexities of family life The Saffron Kitchen is inspired; as a study of the flipside of the cultural divide it is intelligent and probing, an impressive debut (SCOTSMAN)

Book Description

* A passionate novel about mothers and daughters, roots and exile, set among an Anglo-Iranian family

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Strange not to know that you're alive or even that you're about to die. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite book 23 Sep 2006
I agree with London Emma- the story is so captivating you want to hurry along to find out what happens to the characters, but the descriptions of London and village life in Iran are so beautifully crafted that you allow yourself to slow down. A few times I had to stop reading altogether because I choked up- the author loves her characters so much but they do endure some very deep pain! The beauty in this book left me breathless and eager for more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feast your senses 5 Dec 2010
I really enjoyed this book which tells the timeless story of lovers who were forced apart but in a way which is fresh and captivating. The characters of Maryam and her daughter Sara are authentic and engaging and the story is beautifully written. It takes us from London to Iran and evokes a strong sense of place wherever the action is taking place. With Iran being so much in the news at the moment this is an important book which provides a less negative perspective, though that is not to say the author paints a rose-tinted picture of Iranian culture. The Saffron Kitchen also gives us an idea of how difficult it to be a foreigner in a foreign land. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning something about other cultures. I also recommend No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, also a debut novel but one written about Afghanistan which has a Scottish central character married to an Afghan doctor - a novel which, like The Saffron Kitchen, allows the reader to become totally immersed in a different culture, to feel as though they are really there.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Saffron Kitchen is a wonderful book 4 May 2006
By Emma
I loved this novel. The storyline makes you want to race to the end, but the language is so beautiful that you also want to take your time to relish the words as you go. I empathised with the characters right from the start, it made me laugh out loud, as well as sob my heart out, and the evocations of Iran are totally beguiling. Highly recommended, it's a fantastic read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old tale brilliantly re-told 7 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like some of the other reviewers of The Saffron Kitchen I, too, loved this book. The storyline about two people in love who have been forced apart is given new meaning and added layers. Maryam Mazar is a complex character, not always nice, but that makes her all the more human and believable. Author Yasmin Crowther takes us from London to Iran when Maryam returns to confront events in her past. Beautiful descriptions create a strong sense of place rich with colours and tastes and scents. Along with the story of star-crossed lovers, The Saffron Kitchen is about family relationships, cutlrural identity and belonging. Reviewed by Mary Smith author of No More Mulberries
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A interesting window to Iran 3 May 2010
By Dennis
This book really was a good read. Not un-put-downable, but very good all the same. It had an interesting plot, likable characters, and provided the reader with a very good first-hand view of Iran's past and present. For a country that we only hear about negatively, this book does give a more balanced view of such an ancient land. At the same time though, it does not shy away from being critical of the current regime and the way Iranian society treats women. It also gives the reader a good insight into how lonely it can be for anyone to move away from their homeland. The author certainly has a gift at conveying emotion as you can feel the sense of yearning that Maryam feels for Iran throughout the book, a sense that I'm sure anyone would feel in a strange country, especially if we had left home under such unfortunate circumstances.

I love a book that teaches me something about another land, another culture or another time. This book certainly delivered on all counts for me, granted a lot of the story is set in the present day. If you're sitting on the fence about buying it, hop off and get it. It really is worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very touching story 27 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book recently and was very moved by it. The author has written in a great way to get the reader very into the story - there is the current life now for Maryam and then we have a look into her history which is very powerful.

The only thing whihc i found slightly negative is that Maryam seems to have lived/has lived, most of her adult life in memory of her childhood with not a great deal of feeling for her current situation. That and the fact she found an extremely tolerable and understanding husband!!

However would very much recommend this book as it is a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - but not finished it yet !!!! 24 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What I have read so far is really interesting and gets more so with every page you turn - good descriptions, good story, well written and can't wait to get back to read the rest!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Holiday Book reading 2 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Took me a long time to get into this book, keeps swopping from past times to current day ... A good read but the story didnt hit me until half way through the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down.
I really loved this book. It was so heartbreaking at times. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
Published 2 months ago by Sue
3.0 out of 5 stars easy reading
Easy reading and quite sad., but makes you realise that there is another world out there and that there is not always a happy ending.
Published 3 months ago by frances sage
5.0 out of 5 stars a grand book
Exciting to read, i could not put it down.
I took it to work and read it in between breaks.
Published 3 months ago by catherine
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging!
I found this book to be very engaging, and I really enjoyed reading about the characters and their developments throughout the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it
It kept me entertained, good for free time with cup of tea. Do not loved it but book written well enough to read it again someday.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay book
Was a bit disappointed - found it rather slow which was a shame as I was looking forward to reading about a different culture and I found it lacking in detail. Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
Really good read 5 stars. I Would recommend it to anyone who loves to read or is interested in Iranian culture.
Published 9 months ago by Lexi
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant !
Excellent read. Took on holiday and couldn't put it down. It showed a good picture of life for woman even in today's Iran.
Published 10 months ago by Eileen Bray
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving
I enjoyed this book particularly as it evoked many old memories and the descriptions and the storyline were both
current and historical.
Published 11 months ago by J. Clayton
5.0 out of 5 stars How we see other traditions
I thought this was a really good book. It certainly opened up my eyes to other faiths and traditions and made me a bit more sypmathic to others. Well worth reading.
Published 12 months ago by Anne-Marie
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