Friday, September 12, 2008
Book Review: The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
Book Description: At the age of fourteen, a young woman in 17th-century Persia believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, collapsing in the field where he works with the other men from their village, there is no hope for a dowry. Alone and penniless, she and her grieving mother are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven,meant, of course, for her married life, to pay for their journey to Isfahan. There they will work as servants for her uncle Gostaham, a rich rug designer in the court of the Shah, and be lorded over by Gostaham's wife. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant weaver of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her artistic gift flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage with a man who will never take her as his first wife, the young woman is faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to maintain it. Amirrezvani infuses her story with lush detail, brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan: The dazzling architecture; the exotic Persian foods; the breathtakingly beautiful rugs. A sweeping love story, a powerful coming-of-age story, and a luminous portrait of a city, this is a universal tale of one woman's struggle to live a life of her choosing.
This is a beautifully written debut novel, an engaging coming of age story about a young persian girl in the 17th century. I enjoyed the rich pictures that the author paints of the beauty of Isfahan with details of architecture, persian foods, culture, views of the rivers and mosques. She describes colors in detail and richness especially with the descriptions of rugs and rug making.
The story covers the details of many life lessons such as love, loss, sacrifice, pride, honesty. It seemed to cover the details of life for women and girls during this time accurately. Sadly, women had very few rights and education and training was near impossible unless you were a man. There were many fables interspersed throughout the book which I grew tired of reading near the end. To me, there were too many which distracted my attention away from the main story.