March Books 6) Pomegranate Soup, by Marsha Mehran

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.

One thought on “March Books 6) Pomegranate Soup, by Marsha Mehran

  1. Well, for instance, from the first chapter:

    “I hate the way you talk about your married life, Harry,” said Basil Hallward, strolling towards the door that led into the garden. “I believe that you are really a very good husband, but that you are thoroughly ashamed of your own virtues. You are an extraordinary fellow. You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing. Your cynicism is simply a pose.”
    “Being natural is simply a pose, and the most irritating pose I know,”cried Lord Henry, laughing; and the two young men went out into the garden together and ensconced themselves on a long bamboo seat that stood in the shade of a tall laurel bush. The sunlight slipped over the polished leaves. In the grass, white daisies were tremulous.

    After a pause, Lord Henry pulled out his watch.

    So, what do you think the posing and ensconced Basil and Harry might have been doing on the long bamboo seat during that pause? Did anything other than the sunlight slip over anything else?? Was there anything other than the daisies that might have been tremulous????

    (Yes, Lord Henry is married. So was Oscar!)

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