Reviews and Reception Bijan


The novel is composed like an extravagant meal, starting with a bracing aperitif of a prologue before serving samplings of Noor’s longing, Lily’s discontent, and Zod’s desire to give his children a better life. Bijan’s culinary background once again informs her writing, fueling her comparisons between the satisfying simplicity of Spanish cuisine with the ease of courtship in its earliest stages. Her separation features more spartan fare, while her change in scenery is followed by all the complex dishes of her homeland. The story loosens its belt as it goes on, with chapters growing longer and meatier to allow Noor to confront her past and future. Because she’s being pushed out of one and blocked from the other, she doesn’t trust her instincts. So she returns to her childhood state of just watching the action going on in the kitchen.― Review by Danette Chavez

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The author, an Iranian émigré who became a chef in America (publishing a recipe-laced memoir, Maman’s Homesick Pie, 2011), sprinkles her novel with sensuous descriptions of food, underlining its connection to memory. And she tells her story from multiple perspectives, creating sympathetic characters with rich inner lives. If the ending isn’t completely satisfying, it’s at least pleasantly unexpected.― Review by Kirkus Reviews

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New York Journal of Books:


Is this really a book about the last days of a restaurant, or those of a legacy that spans generations? Readers will enjoy this novel filled the idea of homecoming and motherhood, and a rare glimpse into post-revolution Iran, and most importantly the food.― Review by Saadia Faruqi

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Shelf Awareness:


Bijan’s novel is a tribute to everyday resilience, love in the face of deep grief and the power of a good meal to nourish body and soul.― Review by Katie Noah Gibson

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The Last Days of Café Leila’s Homepage

Jessica Jenkins ’19

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