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Extended Audio Sample The Saffron Kitchen Audiobook, by Yasmin Crowther Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,560 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Yasmin Crowther Narrator: Ariana Fraval, Mehr Mansuri Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2006 ISBN: 9781429586795
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In this powerful debut, Yasmin Crowther paints a stirring portrait of a family shaken by events from decades ago and a world away. On a blustery day in London, the dark secrets and troubled past of Maryann Mazar surface violently, with tragic consequences for her daughter, Sara, and her newly orphaned nephew, Saeed. Consumed with guilt, Maryann leaves her suburban home and mild English husband to return to Mazareh, the remote village on Iran’s northeast border where her own story began. There she must face her past and the memories of a life she was forced to leave behind when she was young, headstrong, and beautiful.

Back in England, Sara tries to understand what could have compelled her mother to leave. Together with Saeed and her distraught father, she begins to unearth Maryann’s story from amid her memories of opium poppies, family lore, and fragments of conversation, photographs, and a few lines of poetry. In her quest to piece her life back together, Sara follows her mother to Iran to discover the roots of her unhappiness and to try and bring her home.

A rich and haunting narrative, The Saffron Kitchen tells of betrayal and retribution, of secrets that can lie undisturbed for decades, of the pain of exile, and the bittersweet joy of homecoming.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Saffron Kitchen has a dreamlike quality that gradually draws in and washes over a reader. USA Today
  • A fine novel of cultural and generational tension. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • A moving look at the plight of the immigrant torn between two homes. The Christian Science Monitor
  • With richly descriptive language evoking the riotous streets of Iran to the comfortable London suburbs, Crowther's well-crafted narrative will keep readers eagerly turning the pages of this poetic debut about mothers and daughters. PAGES
  • Beautiful . . . A heartfelt story about unbreakable family bonds. Entertainment Weekly
  • A wonderfully intricate debut novel . . . exploring the potency of heritage and the pain of exile. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Crowther's debut is spellbinding, and her cross-cultural perception and empathy are illuminating and affecting. Booklist
  • An unusual and satisfying read. The Guardian, London
  • A book about edges . . . where unconscious drives become seemingly rational decisions; and where different cultural values confront each other . . . Crowther [is] a novelist of exceptional honesty and grace. The Sunday Telegraph, London

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 2/12/2014

    " It was interesting and I liked it well enough, but the flow was a little off for me and parts felt overly dramatic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 2/3/2014

    " MOving book very sad --what a sick society in Iran "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Ferguson | 2/3/2014

    " I read this in one day...couldn't put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ludene | 1/25/2014

    " Just started this for our book club. More info. to come. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie-José Jansen | 1/21/2014

    " Een mooi omschreven verhaal over het verschil in culturen waardoor je soms gedwongen bepaalde keuzes maakt om te overleven.... Bracht veel herinneringen boven, maar ok hulp met verwerken van mijn verleden :) Een aanrader! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marian | 1/15/2014

    " This is a story which starts in Iran with a young woman in love challenging her father and the local customs and having to be exiled to England and start a life all over again there. To find resolution of her past she returns to Iran. Then her daughter travels from England and follow her mother to her mother's birthplace to better understand her mother's unhappiness and the bittersweet resolution. A good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dan | 1/14/2014

    " I wasn't thrilled by this book. The best way to describe it is to just say, "Meh." The characters were flat, the plot really built to nothing special, and even though I enjoy descriptive writing, this was similar to eating too much dessert. The descriptive nature of the text made me feel too full. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 daysgoby | 1/13/2014

    " Clever and beguiling, focusing on the lives people have that we don't know about. Still resonating in my mind a few weeks later. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leigh | 1/10/2014

    " I would not recommend this book to my friends. It was very boring at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 1/2/2014

    " very good book about a person bridging two cultures over 30years. A young woman forced to leave her familiy in Iran and start over again in England....the consequences scar her family for over 30 years. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 12/13/2013

    " Quite disappointed in this book. The idea for the story is very good, but it left me cold. I really didnt like the mother character and felt no empathy for her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Navid | 12/2/2013

    " The style is emminent but is not enough to keep the readers interest "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 11/19/2013

    " Good read, not fabulous but very interesting overall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 clare | 11/11/2013

    " I liked the Iran parts- because I've never been there. I really never could get into the characters, or believe them fully. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 10/26/2013

    " Enjoyed it but felt like I needed more closure at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 9/18/2013

    " This book reminded me a little of books by Khaled Hossein. The issues spanned generations and changed families and people for life. I didn't feel the closeness to the characters in this book like I did in Kite Runner or Thousand Splendid Suns though. However, I really enjoyed reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 9/15/2013

    " A beautiful, involving story with delicate prose and great images. Definitely lacked a little subtlety with some of the symbolisms and some of the characters were one-dimensional and hard to believe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 8/26/2013

    " This was a very interesting book. I have found that reading about other women's lives in other countries has been interesting and enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 4/26/2013

    " Only about 30 pages into it, but enjoying it so far. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bana | 4/9/2013

    " I don't want my daughter to look back in her childhood and remembers her mother as a depressed women who still tries to overcome the changes of being a first generation immigrant. That part of the book defiantly touched me so I do recommend this book to all mothers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara Ripley | 3/19/2013

    " A little mellodramatic. Trauma from childhood is a big deal but I felt that the mother's reaction wasn't real or something about it was off. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda Spence | 2/27/2013

    " Overall I enjoyed the book, but I found the ending to be stale and predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Manasa | 5/26/2012

    " Slow and intense the book gets you involved with the two main characters in the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 2/25/2012

    " From London to the remote mountains of Iran, a story of a family living between two cultures, dark secrets and reconciling how to know your own mind, when it is not driven by fear or guilt or obligation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AnnMarie | 12/26/2011

    " Wonderful story and so well written! This was a first book by this author....hope there are many more to come!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janet | 5/26/2011

    " Not enough back story. I love to read about other cultures, but this story of parent / child conflict affecting two generations could have taken place in any culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 5/5/2011

    " A beautiful, involving story with delicate prose and great images. Definitely lacked a little subtlety with some of the symbolisms and some of the characters were one-dimensional and hard to believe. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/22/2011

    " Beautiful story telling. A human story that inspires and touches the reader. This is a story i would recommend to any woman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 4/12/2011

    " I enjoyed the well painted scenary written about the mountain region of Iran. It gives insight to the lives of the people in Iran, in particular a mother and daughter. The mother's need to return to Iran after being in England for over 30 years and why she felt such a draw. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 3/11/2011

    " When I first started, this book pulled me right in and i enjoyed as it went along but then the end...i was very disappointed of how the story ended. I didn't like it one bit, so it wasn't 4 stars as it could have been. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 2/10/2011

    " This is a beautiful story of family relationships, cultural classes, forgiveness and moving on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 2/7/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book. It is the story of a relationship between a mother and a daughter. The mother was born in Iran and the daughter was born in America and the book explores the complicated relationship that resulted due to the very different cultures. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mridula | 2/2/2011

    " A one-time read only. Very high on emotions and set during the Iran-Iraq war period. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 1/25/2011

    " It was okay. I guess I kept waiting for something else to happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sasha | 11/18/2010

    " Getting past the tragedy in the first few pages was the hardest part. From there, the story blooms into one of love and self-discovery and sacrifice. It caught me by surprise and I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sadaf | 10/26/2010

    " Very interesting book about a girl in Iran before the revolution and then the dichotomy of life as she moves to England. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle (labbie) | 10/23/2010

    " What a beautifully written book. I listened to it on audio, so maybe the narrators' voices affected my opinion, but I really enjoyed the story. Haunting, so descriptive, and made me feel as though I was in Iran, in England, etc. right along with the main characters.
    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alicia | 10/13/2010

    " Just couldn't get into this enough to get past the first 1/3 of the book. The characters seemed interesting enough, but I couldn't get past the writing style enough to actually like them. A story is nothing without characters. "

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