Together Tea

Together Tea

4.5 24
by Marjan Kamali
     
 

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In Together Tea, Marjan Kamali’s delightful and heartwarming debut novel, Darya has discovered the perfect gift for her daughter’s twenty-fifth birthday: an ideal husband. Mina, however, is fed up with her mother’s years of endless matchmaking and the spreadsheets grading available Iranian-American bachelors. Having spent her childhood in

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Overview

In Together Tea, Marjan Kamali’s delightful and heartwarming debut novel, Darya has discovered the perfect gift for her daughter’s twenty-fifth birthday: an ideal husband. Mina, however, is fed up with her mother’s years of endless matchmaking and the spreadsheets grading available Iranian-American bachelors. Having spent her childhood in Tehran and the rest of her life in New York City, Mina has experienced cultural clashes firsthand, but she’s learning that the greatest clashes sometimes happen at home.

After a last ill-fated attempt at matchmaking, mother and daughter embark on a return journey to Iran. Immersed once again in Persian culture, the two women gradually begin to understand each other. But when Mina falls for a young man who never appeared on her mother’s matchmaking radar, will Mina and Darya’s new-found appreciation for each other survive?

Together Tea is a moving and joyous debut novel about family, love, and finding the place you truly belong.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kamali’s debut, set in the mid-’90s, is the story of Darya and Mina Rezayi, mother and daughter in a family that emigrated to the U.S. from Iran after Mina’s grandmother was killed by an Iraqi bomb. One of three children trying to live up to their parents’ expectations, Mina would rather paint than finish her MBA. But mostly she wishes her mother, a frustrated mathematician, would stop creating spreadsheets of eligible Iranian-American men, who have so far all disappointed her. Darya’s husband embraces the can-do American spirit, but she misses prerevolutionary Iran, with its emphasis on family and tradition, and accompanies Mina on a visit to their homeland. The book’s second part takes place in Tehran, but during the revolution and the early years of the war with Iraq. Kamali’s lyrical writing is particularly vivid here, and warm, as with the many descriptions of tarof, a Persian verbal tradition. Although there are differences in Mina’s and Darya’s American experiences, the author effectively evokes the pull both women feel toward Iran. She creates empathy for a people forced to live one life in public and another privately. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Associates Literary Management. (June)
Booklist
“[A] lively debut...Kamali perfectly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of Tehran. Humor, romance, and tradition all combine in an enjoyable chick-lit tale, Iranian style.”
Rishi Reddi
“Marjan Kamali’s thoughtful novel presents the story of a young Iranian woman’s coming of age in modern America and her mother’s parallel journey from the old world to the new. Kamali’s writing spans oceans yet depicts a common humanity—a lovely work.”
Jill Davis
“Compassionate, funny, and wise, Together Tea is a treasure of a novel. Marjan Kamali creates a wonderfully loving and real story about a mother and daughter, and their complicated cultural identity. Its remarkable scope-from 1970s Tehran to 1990s New York-is beautifully rendered.”
Elinor Lipman
“Smart and witty, with characters so dear you want to pack your suitcase and travel with them wherever they can take you. How lucky I feel to have been given this baklava-delicious gift of Persian immersion from a New York point of view.”
Kirkus Reviews
Career, love, happiness--for Mina Rezayi, everything becomes a gently humorous negotiation between her Iranian heritage and her American hopes, between her mother and herself. Mina, who would rather be an artist than finish her MBA, flinches at the thought of another Sunday tea with a Mr. Possible. But she cannot disappoint her mother, Darya, a gifted mathematician, who, in pre-revolutionary Iran, had dreamed of becoming a professor. An arranged marriage to Parviz, whom she eventually came to love deeply, and three children, however, dashed those plans. After escaping the oppressive Islamic regime and making a home in America, Parviz works hard, earns an American medical license and brims with irrepressible optimism. He channels his enthusiastic you-can-do-it attitude into convincing Darya to start a Saturday afternoon math camp. With only two other members--Yung-Ja and Kavita--the club is the highlight of her week, and the women engage in complex mathematical acrobatics as well as competing over whose homeland has suffered the worst upheavals. Sighing with exasperation, Darya even allows Parviz to register her for a night class on spreadsheets, where she meets Sam, who's just a friend, right? Constructing complex graphs, charts and spreadsheets, Darya evaluates potential husbands for Mina. So far, her matchmaking efforts have been thorough yet unsuccessful. But one Sunday, Mr. Dashti comes to tea. And Mr. Dashti looks strangely relieved when Mina rejects him. His unexpected reaction intrigues Mina, and she begins to dream about returning to Iran. Maybe there she could resolve her own identity crisis. To her surprise, Darya decides to accompany her. Deftly threaded memories of Iran and of the revolution's effects on their family enrich the story as Mina and Darya gain sympathy for each other's struggles. Sparkling dialogue and warm characters make Kamali's debut novel perfect for book clubs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062236821
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/21/2013
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
256,674
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Rishi Reddi
“Marjan Kamali’s thoughtful novel presents the story of a young Iranian woman’s coming of age in modern America and her mother’s parallel journey from the old world to the new. Kamali’s writing spans oceans yet depicts a common humanity—a lovely work.”

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