Author Marsha Mehran, who wrote movingly of her multicultural experience as an Iranian living in Ireland, died in her home in last week, according to news reports. She was 36.
Mehran was best known for her novel “Pomegranate Soup,” the story of a group of sisters who escape the Iranian Revolution and open a Persian café in West Ireland. Mehran’s mix of wit and cross-cultural insight made her book an international bestseller.
“Pomegranate Soup” was drawn from Mehran’s personal experience. As a child, she moved to Argentina with her family, fleeing Tehran in 1979. In Buenos Aires, Mehran attended a Scottish private academy.
“I was learning three languages simultaneously,” Mehran wrote in a 2005 essay for the New York Times. “Every night before going to bed, I was required to say good night in all three languages: ‘Shab bekheir, buenas noches, and good night.’”
In an interview for her publisher Random House, Mehran explained that she hoped to bring her fondness for Persian culture into her fiction.
“[There is] a happiness and vitality that is particular to Iranians, to Persian culture itself,” she explained. “I wanted to express the beauty of my birthplace; a vision I knew was incongruous with the dark, violent images Westerners see when they think of Iran.”
Mehran lived briefly in Australia and New York before meeting and marrying Christopher Collins and moving with him to Ireland.
Her follow-up to “Pomegranate Soup,” “Rosewater and Soda Bread,” was published in 2008. A third book in the series, “Pistachio Rain,” was planned for publication later this year, along with another novel, “The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty.”