1953, Tehran. Roya loves nothing better than to while away the hours in the local stationery shop run by Mr. Fakhri. The store, stocked with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of writing paper, also carries translations of literature from all over the world.
And when Mr Fakhri introduces her to his other favourite customer - handsome Bahman, with his burning passion for justice and a shared love for Rumi's poetry - Roya loses her heart at once. But around them, life in Tehran is changing.
On the eve of their marriage, Roya heads to the town square to meet with Bahman. Suddenly, shockingly, violence erupts: a coup d'etat that forever changes their country's future. Bahman never arrives.
Roya must piece her life back together. Her parents, wanting her to be safe, enrol her in college in California, where she meets and marries another man.
But, nearly sixty years later, an accident of fate finally brings her the answer she has always wanted to know - Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?
Marjan Kamali's beautiful novel, set in a country poised for democracy but destroyed by political upheaval, explores issues that have never been more timely, of immigration and cultural assimilation, of the quirks of fate. And its ending will break readers' hearts.