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I really wanted to love this novel about three Iranian sisters setting up a Persian cafe in a town in County Mayo in 1986, but I couldn't quite bring myself to. The bits about Iran during the revolution, and indeed about cookery, are heartfelt and well-written; the Irish scene-setting, which makes up the bulk of the book, is much less convincing (a town whose high street is called "Main Mall"???) and descends into Oirishry at various points. Ireland in 1986 was about to enter a truly convulsive period of its history, but there is almost no trace of that here. The unsubtle characterisation is another problem - we know that the pub owner is a bully, because he is described with that word at almost every appearance. Half a dozen recipes are provided, but all in American measurements and nomenclature ("eggplants", "ground lamb") despite this being the British / European edition. Sorry to be grumpy but I was rather disappointed with this book.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2010 10:25 am (UTC)

Are those recipes supposed to be in the context of the Irish setting? If so, the characters would surely have noticed that the local names for the ingredients aren't the American English ones. (Or the Parsi ones, come to that.) That would, indeed, be something that a character might muse upon.

Oh, and do they follow the American habit of using volumes for everything, rather than weights or volumes depending on convenience?
Mar. 4th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
I had to find out more...

I love that the evil 'uncrowned king' of the village has been trying and failing for years to buy... the pastry shop. Talk about the decline of the Irish male.

The surprising thing is that the author has actually been to Ireland, and claims to live here and Brooklyn. How can you be a writer and not notice the differences?
Mar. 4th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
Talk about the decline of the Irish male.

We are given to understand that his drive to dominate the village stems from his inability to satisfy his wife sexually. Make of that what you will.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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