The Saffron Kitchen

The Saffron Kitchen is another book that Sands has bought having heard great things about it on a book review podcast (SImon Mayo on BBC Radio 5). She really enjoyed it because it was all about relationships, the history behind the people, and the way they came to grips with the consequences of the past.

Me? I sort of liked it eventually, but as I am effectively a cultural void when it comes to feelings, relationships and deep meaningful analysis it was really a set of well constructed words that filled the time pleasantly but didn’t leave me thinking about what was going to happen next in between reading sessions.

Next up? Not sure yet, but not another one of Sands choices for a while!


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 comfort of her suburban home and mild English husband to return to Mazareh, the remote Iranian village where her story began. There she must face her past and the memories of a life she was forced to leave behind when her father disowned her for a sin she did not commit, in the days when she was young, headstrong and beautiful.

Back in England, Sara takes care of Saeed and her distraught father as she tries to understand what has happened. Together they begin to unearth Maryam’s story from their memories, fragments of conversation, photographs and a few lines of poetry. In her quest to piece their life 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 wind-swept plains that have haunted her mother’s dreams for half a century, Sara finally learns the terrible price Maryam once had to pay for her freedom, and of the love she left behind.

A richly poetic and haunting narrative, The Saffron Kitchen tells of betrayal and retribution, of secrets that can lie undisturbed for decades without losing their power to harm, of the pain of exile and the difficult joy of homecoming.

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