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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Persian/Irish Chocolat
This book is similar in style to Joanne Harris Chocolat. It is a delicious read! Through this story you meet three sisters who have escaped from the revolution in Iran in the days of the Shah. It deals with their "civilising" of the residents of a backwoods town in Ireland through their opening of The Babylon Cafe. There are a wonderful array of characters who fall...
Published on 16 Aug. 2006 by eclectic reader

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I thought I would enjoy this book but was disappointed from the start. I is too closely associated with the novel Chocolat in its so called magical element.
The flash backs to life in Persia were the best parts also the interaction between the sisters but the more serious elements such as rape, home abuse etc, were slightly dismissed and because of this the novel...
Published on 22 Oct. 2011 by koober8


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Persian/Irish Chocolat, 16 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
This book is similar in style to Joanne Harris Chocolat. It is a delicious read! Through this story you meet three sisters who have escaped from the revolution in Iran in the days of the Shah. It deals with their "civilising" of the residents of a backwoods town in Ireland through their opening of The Babylon Cafe. There are a wonderful array of characters who fall under their charm through their delicious meals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 22 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
I thought I would enjoy this book but was disappointed from the start. I is too closely associated with the novel Chocolat in its so called magical element.
The flash backs to life in Persia were the best parts also the interaction between the sisters but the more serious elements such as rape, home abuse etc, were slightly dismissed and because of this the novel gained no credence.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "giving flavor to yet another pot of pomegranate soup", 27 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
Set in 1986, Pomegranate Soup is a beguiling story of what happens when the exotic smells of the East meet the stodgy, suspicion-laden people of the West. When three Iranian sisters arrive in the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh, in Western Ireland, they are faced with almost insurmountable obstacles as they struggle to make a new life for themselves.
Marjan, Bahar, and Layla managed to escape the shah's religious revolution in 1970's Iran, "a revolutionary feast that had gone on far too long." After living in London for a couple of years they have come to Ballinacroagh to achieve one of their life's dreams and also to escape the ghosts of their past.
Using their cooking skills, along their ineffable desire to bring something of their heritage to the local townsfolk, the newcomers open the Babylon Café on a site that has been "deserted and collecting dust" since the death, five years before of Luigi Delmonico, the Italian baker who once owned it.
Having befriended Luigi's widow, Estelle, the sisters are invited to bring new life to the small bistro and soon the Main Mall, the center of the quaint little village begins to exude scents of cinnamon and rosewater, and onions cooking in tightly clenched fists and drops of blood blooming into full-blown roses.
Of course, not all the townsfolk are happy with the new arrivals. Although the local priest Father Mahoney immediately comes under the spell of the Aminpour sisters' delightful cooking, viscous gossip abounds, spread by the puritanical Dervla Quigley who views the new café as "a nasty streak of foreignness," producing wicked, tingling sensations that taunt the severely religious woman's ingrained sense of decency.
Thomas McGuire, the town's enterprising publican and local bully, is also full of animosity. He resents the Aminpours for taking over a prime piece of real estate he has coveted since the original shop closed. Obsessed with seventies disco music, Thomas wanted to turn the café into a dance club. He sees the sisters as devilish and thinks there's "something very wrong about a smell so strong."
Thomas had been suffering under the strains of unfulfilled dreams; he has wrongly compensated for his failures by steamrolling and manipulating everyone in his path. To him, the sisters are nothing but "fechin' foreigners, laying their filthy paws in what was rightful his."
The mistrust instigated by Thomas and Dervla initially reverberates throughout the town, but the gossip, if not silenced, is ignored; and the sisters find allies among the town's colorful residents. However, no sooner, are they open for business and doing well, than their traumatic past life in Iran threatens to come back and haunt them.
Unspeakable events have left indelible scars on the girls. Bahar is forever looking over her shoulder for fear that she stepped on cracks or wondered under a ladder, her nervousness escalating into a deeper malaise in recent years. She blames herself that they are stuck in some mean little village at the end of the world, "with nothing but cooking burns and the stink of fried onions to look forward to."
However, Layla is the inspiration for them all, encouraging lust in younger men and youthful dreams in their older counterparts. Marjan is also a pillar of strength for the women, working her magic over both men and women in a more practical, yet equally intriguing manner. One taste of Marjan's food and most "not only start dreaming but also actually contemplate doing."
Author, Marsha Mehran has written a delightful first novel full of the seductive qualities of food. Weaving elements of magical realism into the narrative, she shows that food cannot only bring cultures together, but also stem the evil tide of prejudice and mistrust.
The glint of the samovar and the sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon and rosewater gradually seduce the people of Ballinacroagh, while giving the Aminpour sisters friends in the most unlikeliest of places and a home where they can finally feel safe. For them, the Babylon Café eventually becomes their own Hanging Gardens of Babylon, their own small slab of paradise. Mike Leonard August 05.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pomegranate with a pinch of disappointment, 26 Jun. 2011
By 
Ms. D. A. L. Wilkinson (Preston,Lancs UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
I enjoyed this story but it wasn't as great as I'd hoped. I enjoy books around magic, baking, cooking, mysterious strangers etc, so I looked forward to reading this. It does have some wonderful descriptions of the food that's cooked but I wished that there was more depth to the characters - the Irish men and women seemed like interesting characters but then they just sort of fell away leaving you wanting to know more or for them to be more involved in the story. It's a nice book, which isn't a great description and is a little bland but that's how I felt about the story so it seems apt.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious, 10 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
I can't begin to say how much I enjoyed this book! It is a facinating story and so well told. It could have been a bitter and depressing book but instead Marsha has brought to life in a was I never thought possible. It is colorful, delicious and at times made me hungry! At times I felt that I was in that kitchen, smelling and tasting everything, wishing I could be sitting there at one of the tables trying out all those dishes. I feel that the thre sisters will be a part of me for ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pomegranate soup.., 12 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
Yet another author I had never read but I am so glad I have now, if only for the evocativeness of the recipes described. Who would have thought of putting pomegranate in a soup!! This is not a great literary work but it does remind us of the horrors of the revolution in Iran and the resilience of people far from their home and culture.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Madeline, 16 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book about the sisters from Iran and their new life in Ireland.
Can imagine some of the characters and their curiousity about their food and being strangers in the town.
Descriptions of the food made your mouth water.
The book is an easy read, great holiday reading.
Hope the second book will be as good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful and inspiring, 14 May 2015
By 
D. Conrad (Mahwah, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
This was a lovely insight into what it's like to be a foreigner in Ireland. The recipes that win over the locals are so tempting, I have bought all the ingredients and am working my way through the collection. So sad that the author was found dead in her cottage at such a young age.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 6 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Kindle Edition)
Similarities to 'Chocolat' with aromatic persian recipes and amusing observation of life in a provincial Irish village. The undertones of bad past events are ever present as is the knowledge that acceptance cannot be universal. Overall an easy read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully descriptive book - I thoroughly enjoyed this well written ..., 28 May 2015
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This review is from: Pomegranate Soup (Paperback)
Wonderfully descriptive book - I thoroughly enjoyed this well written account of the three sisters' lives in Ireland, following their brief time in London and after fleeing the troubled times in their homeland of Iran. Highly recommended reading.
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Pomegranate Soup
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
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