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The Last Days of Café Leila: A Novel…
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The Last Days of Café Leila: A Novel

by Donia Bijan

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13424138,277 (3.9)12
"When Noor returns to her native Iran for the first time in thirty years, with her very American daughter, Lily, so much about her homeland is different. But Café Leila--the restaurant Noor's family has run for three generations--hasn't changed. A neighborhood café in Tehran is at the center of this powerful and transporting story of love, family, friendship, and homecoming told against the backdrop of Iran's rich, yet tragic, history"--… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Noor's family in Iran have have run a restaurant for generations although Noor has lived in the US for thirty years and has a teenage daughter, Lily. Recently divorced, she took Lily, with her ex-husband's permission, for a vacation in Iran and then decided to stay. It is understandable that an expat will want to return to her homeland to care for aging parents but this story is more like child abduction - and to a country that has few basic freedoms for women. I'm attributing this poor decision to the emotional devastation Noor experienced after the divorce. The book was disappointing, the writing immature, missing something that I thought might have been lost in a poor translation. This, however, was not the case for the book was written in English. My version was an audiobook that was not narrated well. ( )
  VivienneR | Jul 18, 2019 |
When Noor catches her husband in an affair, she returns to her native Iran and the cafe that her father runs for consolation. ( )
  4leschats | Oct 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very well written sweet little book.
Would recommend it to friends and would read other books by this author based on my liking of this one. ( )
  KarenHerndon | Sep 10, 2018 |
The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan takes place primarily in Tehran but begins in San Francisco. Noor works as a nurse and lives with her husband and teen daughter Lilly. When she can't deal with her husband's infidelities, and longing to see her father, Noor returns to Tehran taking an angry Lilly with her.

Tehran is very different from Noor's childhood memories. She and her brother had been sent to the U.S. for safety after their mother was killed by Iranian police. Neither has returned for twenty years.

Noor finds her father the same respected and loved man she knew as a child, and Café Lelia, the café that has been run by her family for three generations, a welcoming refuge. But there is still turmoil, both within Noor, with her relationship with Lily, and in the city she has escaped to.

Bejan, a native Iranian and a Cordon Bleu trained chef writes very well, particularly when she is describing Iranian cooking and the pleasures of dining.

A bittersweet story wrapped around a splintered family, this was a good book to start the year with and I look forward to reading Bijan's only other book, a memoir. ( )
  clue | Jan 2, 2018 |
Reeling from her divorce, Noor takes her 13'year old daughter back to Iran, the country she left when she was 17. She finds her father dying the the country suffering under the brutality of religious rule. Fascinating exploration of the culture and family. Noor is weak, but eventually find purpose ensuring that her family's traditions will endure. ( )
  pennykaplan | Aug 10, 2017 |
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We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.  —T.S. Eliott, from "Little Gidding"
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For Mitchell and Luca
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Zod marked time by the postman's arrival, usually by four p.m., quarter past at the latest, except on Fridays when he didn't come at all. [Prologue]
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