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Publisher's Summary

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 Cafe Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Cafe 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.

©2017 Donia Bijan (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Last Days of Café Leila

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Vile narrator

The narrator is so bad, she makes the audio book really hard to listen to. The narrator has an Indian accent which has nothing to do Persian/Iranian accent. The story is lovely but the narration’s performance is simply odious. Especially when she speaks as the male characters of the story, she makes a weak and revolting noise as if the voice is coming out of a ghost’s mouth!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator is incredibly annoying

The narrator is not a native English speaker. She has a hard time pronouncing English words, is just terrible in pronouncing Persian, Spanish, French and Russian too. I understand that you don’t need to be fluent in all to be able to deliver well but they could’ve at least chosen someone who was familiar with Persian.
She attempts at different voices and accents but they all come out as an exhausted, old man. Everyone speaks with what is her attempt at a Russian accent. It’s just terrible. It’s so annoying to listen to. I’m not sure who chose this narrator but they failed miserably.
Such a shame since the story is great and Donia Bijan is an amazing writer.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting cultural details

The second half of the book really speeded up the action and excitement. Lots of interesting details that really made you smell and want to taste!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible Narration

I wanted to love this book, and gave it a genuine shot. I could not get past the terrible narration. I’m not sure if I would’ve had a different experience of this story had I bought a physical copy of the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Deeply Satisfying

Well developed characters weave a rich story. Sensuous food and flowers evoke taste and smell with a mastery rare in fiction. The characters' relationships and decisions stir me to continuing reflection on how I myself want to choose to live. A lavish story.

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Dont listen, maybe read!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing

Has The Last Days of Café Leila turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not the book as much as the dreadful narration!

How could the performance have been better?

Listening to the narrator has been my worst audible experience ever.

Any additional comments?

This book's potential is hugely influenced by the very poor narration.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unrealistic ending I would never believe someone would leave their child who is still in high school. And remain in Iran

Too repetitive and predictable except the ending .

Too much discussion on cooking.
I don’t believe someone would put the child last.