Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Off My Bookshelf: The Last Days of Cafe Leila by Donia Bijan

This week I finished, "The Last Days of Cafe Leila" by Donia Bijan.

I enjoyed this book immensely.
Noor is a wife, mother, daughter and sister, whose life has unraveled. She travels from California, back to her childhood home in Syria with her teenage daughter. From there she discovers her father is dying, and begins to see her purpose in life as something bigger and more selfless than she has ever realized. It is a story of how a family and its business became who they were and how societal violence ripped their world apart.

My favorite quotes:
"It seemed they had jumped the glass walls of the fish bowl to roam the room, while their mothers circled inside." 
"The floodgates opened then and they wailed openly and without restraint. It's not something they had planned, but that's how it is when you come to a clearing. How else to let go of all that was inside them?"
"Nothing between them now but a wound, not forgotten, not even forgiven, but accepted."
"Ferry came to lightly grasp her elbow propping her up, and she stood between her girls with a comforting arm around each, wondering how the story of her life would someday be etched into stone in the dash between two dates." 
"Maybe we don't really grow up until our parents die, she thought....Because if our parents didn't exalt us, we spend our adults lives blaming them - for not doing this and not doing that, not being "supportive," not making an appearance at our first recital, being overprotective or aloof, damaging our self-esteem. Yet at our best or worst, who sees everything? Who knows us best? Who waits and waits to see what we yet may be? Then one day they're gone and it's just you and there's nothing left to squeeze, no one to blame for the dismay over the course your life has taken. Once the tears have stopped, it's just the here and now and the desire to do better, to be closer to the person you want to be."
 "...I want to show you that our lives have meaning beyond the everyday things we dwell on. We play a part, however small, in the times in which we live - we are not here just for ourselves."

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