The Last Days of Café Leila

The Last Days of Café Leila

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Workman Press.
“A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan.” —Adriana Trigiani

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.

Baker & Taylor
"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"--

& Taylor

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.

Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017
ISBN: 9781616205850
Branch Call Number: FIC BIJ
Characteristics: 292 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 28, 2017

I enjoyed the complex, real people of this story. These are stand-in for the real people who try to live their lives under extremist regimes. It was a good story, well written with characters you could care about. They weren't immune from the terrible things going on around them, they survived them and stayed true to their ideals. Set in a cafe with a decades old reputation, food woven into their every day life and celebrations as a reflection of their love and care for each other.
The author, a Cordon Bleu trained Chef has also written a cookbook. That might make interesting reading as well.

SquamishLibraryStaff Aug 09, 2017

An excellent book, and a must read. A delicious read about the Cafe Leila, and the quirky owner and staff members. Set in Tehran, Iran, the book is equal parts heartwarming, and heart-rending. Wonderfully written, and a must read. Be warned, after reading about some of the savoury and sweet meals served at the Cafe Leila, you will be reading this book with a rumble in your stomach. Have some snacks ready

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FVRL

To Top