Love and Respect.

Remember that love and respect for others will provide strength and understanding.

Around the world, relationships blossom while civil unrest and senseless wars rage on. Climate change resulting in fires, floods and extinction affect the everyday lives of populations. We read of the tragic effects of these events and now as the pandemic of corona-virus sweeps the world, it is important to remember that love can provide courage and strength to face these catastrophic events.

This month I take you to such places, where amidst the turmoil love not only survives but thrives. Through the stories of great authors, readers can learn how the path of love and friendship sometimes has many twists and turns.

The stationary shop of Tehran.

Author Marjan Kamali in her novel ‘The Stationery Shop of Tehran ‘explores themes of love and loss amidst the turmoil of Iran in the year 1953.

Known as the Iranian Coup d etat, when the United States of America and the United Kingdom sought to overthrow a foreign government during peacetime, this beautiful, well-written novel describes the shocking violence that changed Iran forever.

In a small Tehran stationery shop, a young couple meets for the first time. Roya loves everything about the shop. The translated books from around the world, pens and inks. Most of all, she loves Bahman who enters the shop one day with his energy and burning passion for justice.

Through the action of family and friends, their lives together as man and wife are not to be. Despite moving to Canada and married to a wonderful, kind man, Roya never stops loving Bahman and he her.  The ending of this tragic novel is bittersweet, to say the least.

The Kite runner.

In the Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini, the love is of a different kind.

Set in Afghanistan this book is filled with many personal tragedies involving the destruction of a nation brought about by war. The author skillfully takes the reader through death, rape war, torture, fascism and destruction. Two young friends, Amir and Hassan are the main characters in this heartfelt story. When they are twelve years old their worlds change. Written in the first-person narrative, Amir takes the reader through his kite-flying years in Afghanistan, through to his period of exile in the United States with his father, who successfully provides a satisfactory standard of living.

After the death of his father, Amir discovers a very painful truth about his father and friend Amir, making for an incredible storyline.

Although unable to help Hassan in the past, Amir against all odds and at great risk to his own life finds a way to help his friend and to redeem himself in the process; making for a very satisfying and emotional ending to this exceptionally well-written b

The little coffee shop of Kabul

Remaining in Afghanistan, I wish to draw your attention to author Deborah Rodriuez who has written a novel set in Kabul against the backdrop of political power and unrest at the hands of the Taliban. The little coffee shop of Kabul is owned by Sunny an American citizen who arrived in Kabul to follow his  love. The little shop is the backdrop to several characters within this setting which provides a different perspective from the media-driven images of Afghanistan. Skilfully, Deborah Rodriuez spins a human touch to a war zone filled with fear and bloodshed.

This story contains multiple protagonists, however, two of the Afghan women who feature in this book Halajan and Yasmina are absolute powerhouses with their unexpected spirit and emotional strength.

The book contains several twists and turns as a reader would expect from a novel within this setting. To summarise, I would say that this is a story about true companionship and acceptance of life’s challenges.