Mehran, Marsha 1977–
Mehran, Marsha 1977–
PERSONAL: Born 1977, in Tehran, Iran; immigrated to Ireland; married; husband's name Christopher.
CAREER: Has worked variously as a model, personal assistant, hostess, and waitress.
Pomegranate Soup (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Marsha Mehran was born in Iran and moved with her parents to Argentina during the revolution, where they owned and operated a Middle Eastern café. The family moved to Miami, Florida in 1984, after the Argentinian government and economy had become fragile, and her father found work as a vegan sous chef while her mother sold cosmetics. Their marriage ended in divorce when Mehran was fourteen, and she and her mother moved to Australia, but Mehran returned to New York at nineteen. There she worked a variety of jobs and met and married her husband, who tended bar in an Irish pub. They traveled to his native Ireland, where they lived in a cottage for two years, and they now live in both Ireland and New York.
Mehran's debut novel, Pomegranate Soup, was called "part displacement story, part fairy-tale, part comedy of errors, part love story" by Christopher Collins in Iran.com. Set in Ireland, the story follows three sisters who fled the Iranian revolution and moved to Ireland to opened the Babylon Café in the town of Ballinacroagh. Layla, a teenager, is the most carefree. Middle sister Bahar is a nurse who was married to an abusive man, and Marjan Aminpour, at age twenty-seven, is the eldest. Marjan is the skilled cook and the sister with the most troubled past; she was imprisoned in Iran for revolutionary activities, and since the deaths of her parents has taken responsibility for her sisters. The sisters face discrimination by townspeople, and Thomas McGuire, whose son falls in love with Layla, is a pub owner who wants their business to fail so that he can take over their space. Each of the chapters begins with a recipe—including one for pomegranate soup—that is tied to the plot. Ultimately, Marjan's cooking warms hearts and wins friends for the sisters. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "fans of Chocolat and other cooking-overcomes-cultural differences stories will savor the tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2005, review of Pomegranate Soup, p. 561.
Library Journal, June 15, 2005, Leann Restaino, review of Pomegranate Soup, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, May 23, 2005, review of Pomegranate Soup, p. 53.
BookBrowse, http://www.bookbrowse.com/. (October 16, 2005), interview with Mehran.
Iranian.com, http://www.iranian.com/. (October 26, 2004), Christopher Collins, review of Pomegranate Soup.
Marsha Mehran Home Page, http://www.marshamehran.com. (October 16, 2005).