"Few novels have such charm, such fusion. Marsha Mehran takes one of the great staples of literature, food and its creation, and makes it the vehicle of a delightful, subtle fairytale. With a deep understanding of opposites such as whimsy and poignancy, she delivers a moving and very amusing enquiry into whether differences between peoples exist at all. "
— Frank Delaney, author of Ireland
"Pomegranate Soup is glorious, daring and delightful. I adored the Iranian sisters, Marjan, Bahar and Layla, who are looking to build a life, start a business and find love in a place so far from home. Ireland has never been more beautiful — the perfect setting for this story filled with humor, hope and possibility."
–Adriana Trigiani, author of Rococo
Recalling James Joyce’s Dubliners, this first novel by Mehran (who was born in Iran but now lives in Ireland) centers on the inhabitants of a small Irish town. When three Iranian sisters move into the former bake shop and open a Middle Eastern caf , turmoil erupts. The quirky and wonderfully fleshed-out characters who make up the populace of Ballinacroagh align with either the sisters and their exotic delicacies or the town bully, Thomas McGuire, who attempts to put them out of business. From the young and lovely Layla to resident gossip Dervla Quigley, these characters come to life; they’re as uniquely simple or as deeply complex as the dishes that eldest sister Marjan concocts-recipes included! Personal demons and questioned loyalties play out like a movie on the page (think Joanne Harris’s Chocolat), making the reader feel like an eyewitness to all the events. A satisfying summer read or book club pick; highly recommended.
— Library Journal
“Books Best Read With a Helping of Fairy Dust: Three sisters who have fled their native Iran set up a Persian cafe in their new home, the tiny town of Ballinacroagh, Ireland. After initial suspicion, the townsfolk learn to love the shop with its spicy fragrances and exotic foods. Marsha Mehran describes the food in mouthwatering detail–with a dash of magic realism.”
— The Chicago Tribune
To give the reader a better appreciation for the pivotal role of food in the novel, Mehran includes recipes for some Iranian specialties: stuffed grape leaves, elephant ear pastries, and the title’s pomegranate soup. Stark contrasts between the sisters’ lives in Iran and Ireland and between the Irish and Persian cultures energize Mehran’s tale.
–Mark Knoblauch – Booklist
“In one bite, exotic pomegranates offer a bittersweet reminder of where you are and where you could be. Marsha Mehran is masterful in her exploration of the worlds of the familiar vs. the unfamiliar, chuckling all the way.”
— Rocco DiSpirito, celebrity chef and author of Flavor and Rocco’s Italian American
“Pomegranate Soup, a delightful debut novel, goes from Iran to Ireland and catches the flavors of both cultures through unforgettable scenes and characters. The three Aminpour sisters leaving Iran on the eve of the Revolution, opening a Persian restaurant in an Irish town, enchant us with their optimism and aroma of pomegranate soup, lingering beyond the pages.”
— Nahid Rachlin, author of Foreigner and Veils
“Vibrantly alive and populated with rich characters, this is a delicious first novel flavored generously with Persian spices and Irish temperaments. Marsha Mehran writes with a deft hand and a sparkling imagination.”
–Amulya Malladi, author of Serving Crazy with Curry
"An enchanting tale of love, family and renewal that illuminates the magical qualities of Persian cuisine."
— Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi
“Pomegranate Soup is a delicious first novel, chock-full of wisdom, hope and the human capacity to overcome. All first novels should offer as much.”
–Philip Gulley, author of the Harmony series and If Grace Is True