“A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan.” —Adriana TrigianiBaker & Taylor
Set against the backdrop of Iran’s rich, turbulent history, this exquisite debut novel is a powerful story of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. When we first meet Noor, she is living in San Francisco, missing her beloved father, Zod, in Iran. Now, dragging her stubborn teenage daughter, Lily, with her, she returns to Tehran and to Café Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Café Leila, still run by Zod, has stayed blessedly the same—it is a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family of staff and regulars.
As Noor revisits her Persian childhood, she must rethink who she is—a mother, a daughter, a woman estranged from her marriage and from her life in California. And together, she and Lily get swept up in the beauty and brutality of Tehran.
Bijan’s vivid, layered story, at once tender and elegant, funny and sad, weaves together the complexities of history, domesticity, and loyalty and, best of all, transports readers to another culture, another time, and another emotional landscape.
"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 Cafâe Leila--the restaurant Noor's family has run for three generations--hasn't changed. A neighborhood cafâe 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"--Baker
A woman, Noor, visits her native Iran for the first time in three decades with her sulky, rebellious teenage daughter, Lily, who becomes caught up in the dangerous balance between grace and brutal violence that have taken hold of Tehran.
Noor returns to Iran with her American daughter, Lily, and must face the changes that have occured in her country during her absence while she helps run her family's restaurant, Cafâe Leila.