The Last Days of Café Leila (Paperback)

By Donia Bijan

Algonquin Books, 9781616208035, 320pp.

Publication Date: April 17, 2018

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan." --Adriana Trigiani

Set against the backdrop of Iran's rich, turbulent history, this exquisite debut novel is a powerful story of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. When we first meet Noor, she is living in San Francisco, missing her beloved father, Zod, in Iran. Now, dragging her stubborn teenage daughter, Lily, with her, she returns to Tehran and to Caf Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Caf Leila, still run by Zod, has stayed blessedly the same--it is a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family of staff and regulars.

As Noor revisits her Persian childhood, she must rethink who she is--a mother, a daughter, a woman estranged from her marriage and from her life in California. And together, she and Lily get swept up in the beauty and brutality of Tehran.

Bijan's vivid, layered story, at once tender and elegant, funny and sad, weaves together the complexities of history, domesticity, and loyalty and, best of all, transports readers to another culture, another time, and another emotional landscape.

About the Author

Donia Bijan left her native Iran in 1978. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris and ran her acclaimed restaurant, L'Amie Donia, in Palo Alto, for ten years. Her memoir, Maman's Homesick Pie, was published in 2011.