Friday, December 7, 2007

Anita Amirrezvani/THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS

isn't this a gorgeous cover? a good friend passed this book on to me. i'm so glad i read it. set in 17th century persia, the author brings another world to life with rich descriptions of sights, sounds and smells.

the heroine (who remains unnamed throughout the entire book--to honor artisans of the past), loses her father at age fourteen. they live in a small village and come from humble roots. with her father's passing, she and her mother are unable to make ends meet. altho she was meant to have been married soon, it is now impossible as she has no dowry.

they turn to her father's half-brother for help, and he writes to invite them to stay at his home in the impressive city of isfahan. when they arrive, they find that her uncle holds a high office as one of the lead rug makers for the shah and other elite. our heroine has always been a good knotter (rug maker) and her uncle takes her under his wing.

she enjoys life in the big city, despite the fact that her aunt treats her and her mother like servants. they sleep in a tiny dirty room between the latrine and storeroom. our heroine befriends naheed, a girl from a wealthy family who is her same age, and they become friends. naheed convinces her to attend polo games so naheed may attract the attention of her crush--whom she intends to marry.

life changes for our heroine when she is offered a sigheh--a legal marriage union lasting three months--to a rich young widower. her aunt siezes it as an opportunity to ingratiate the family to perhaps gain rug commisions, as well as take the financial burden off of taking care of them, as our heroine would be paid for this union. and the sigheh can be renewed on a three month basis--if her husband is pleased. but they must keep this contract under wraps, as it is seen as shameful to the richer families (such as her aunt and uncle).

when our heroine agrees to this arrangement and loses her viriginity is when the story starts twisting every which way. we see her rashness as her strongest foible, and she repeatedly makes mistakes because of it.

the author disperses persian folklore throughout the tale, much like fables. the tale is told in the first person narrative, and the prose is lyrical. the author really brings you into this other place. an excellent debut novel. i took special interest in the tale as there are similar themes between her book and my own. i am impressed by her ability to create a quiet story that is still filled with intrigue and tension. i recommend it and consider it among the top five novels i have read in 2007.


April's Place said...

Great idea for a blog, will check back often.

Middle Ditch said...

Hi, I see you all over the place and thought to say hello.

Church Lady said...

This is such an excellent review. I have a very good idea of what the book is like, and it sounds like something I would get lost in.

Thanks for the rec!!

moonrat said...

I've heard so many awesome things about this book... thanks for reminding me I want to read it. (About time for another little Amazon one-click spree...)

cyn said...

welcome april and MD! thanks CL and MR. i really enjoyed this book. her storytelling was superb and so was her prose.

Josephine Damian said...

Cyn, I too thought that cover was a dazzler, but unlike my huckleberry friend, Moonrat, I'll be clicking on my library's reserve page to check out this book.

I always love the exotic ancient cultures... looking forward to this one. Thanks for posting the review.

Cheryl said...

I loved this book! I loved learning about the intense process of making Persian rugs, and the mc was such a great heroine.