Read The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani Online


In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, aIn 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life....

Title : The Blood of Flowers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780755334216
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 457 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Blood of Flowers Reviews

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-02-25 07:33

    I will never again look at Persian/Iranian carpets in the same way. This book makes me want to view many examples of such carpets so that I can now fully appreciate their artistry.This is a finely crafted first novel and I really hope that this author writes more novels. I love her writing style and storytelling.I was completely immersed in the story, characters, and the time & place of this book. I loved the stories within the story, the depiction of a particular woman’s life and a look into the various life experiences of all the characters. My only minor complaint is that possibly too much happened right at the end of the book; it took a long time to get there. I enjoyed the journey but it seemed a bit packed toward the end and, even though I understand the reasoning of leaving the end partially up to the readers’ imaginations, I would have loved to know more about what happened next and far into the future for that matter.So, this is the book that finally (perhaps) will break me of my habit of reading every single word on the cover and in the inside flaps and any reviews included. (We’ll see.) As usual, I read all the text mentioned before I read the book. I therefore then kept waiting for certain things to happen rather than just enjoying the story as it unfolded and being able to be completely surprised as events occurred. (Even though I haven’t yet followed my own advice, I’d suggest reading the novel first and then, if interested, reading the text not written by the author.)However, even though I read a hardcover edition which often doesn’t include such extras, I thought the book was greatly enhanced by the included author’s notes at the end of the book. I would have enjoyed the novel as much without them but the information was very interesting and, along with the novel, piqued my interest in seventeenth century Iranian history, especially as it pertains to women.

  • Jeanette
    2019-02-26 10:14

    3 1/2 starsThis story takes place in the 1620s in Isfahan, Persia (Iran). After her father's death, a teenage girl (never named) and her mother travel from their small village to Isfahan to live with a relative. They are mostly treated like household slaves/servants, but the girl manages to gain skills in rug design from her uncle, a prominent rugmaker. I liked the story, but far too much of the book was taken up with the narrator's sigheh (a temporary, renewable "marriage" which is essentially a form of semi-respectable prostitution). Specifically, too much time was spent on her developing abilities as a hot number in the bedroom, and how this affected her friendship with Naheed. This excessive focus made the book feel a little like historical-fiction-meets-chick-lit. The author spent nine years researching and writing the book, so I think I was frustrated, knowing it could have been so much richer. I would have preferred a lot more portrayal of the glories and customs of Isfahan under Shah Abbas the Great, and much less of the pettiness among the various characters. That said, I did enjoy the book and would welcome another from this author. I got to learn about the design and creation of elaborate Persian rugs. I never knew they were made by tying thousands of little knots. I still don't get exactly how it's done, and I'd love to see it in action.There's an enlightening interview with the author at the back of the book. She says the rugs are still hand-knotted today in Iran. It makes my fingers ache just thinking about it.

  • Jen
    2019-03-19 13:29

    The story was interesting, but I was disappointed overall. I had high expectations of language and wordplay, and it really felt like a highly-sexed YA style--little sophistication. The protagonist annoyed the crap out of me, and thus made it hard for me to feel any sympathy for her plight. The information about the making of rugs was great, though, and reading about the colors and knots almost makes this a three starred books. My favorite parts of the books were the fairy tales interjected, and almost redeemed the writing style for me, but then at the end it turns out that they're actual folklore passed down, not the author's own words. I wish I hadn't anticipated this so much because it was a bit of a let-down.

  • Niledaughter
    2019-03-23 14:25

    This is my second novel about Iran , the first was (Samarkand) , both are historical , but while (Samarkand ) took political & ideological path , this one dealt with one of the Persian art formats and the cultural and social conditions that surrounded its uniqueness and perfection .and in the same time with a feminine feelings and sprit .. In few words : (the blood of flowers) is the complicated and passionate journey of a fiery ... talented female carpet designer towards maturity and professionalism . When I talk about it ; I need three different axes : - The rug craft : The details caught by artistic bright eyes; that became mine ! the verbal camera that caught nature beauty and urban distinguish , the concepts .. life's hardness transformations into touchable and live pieces of art , all of this were amazingly handled . true you will never look at a Persian carpet with the same eyes after reading this book ! - The heroine's life : it presented a full detailed of the social and cultural Iranian life in the seventieth century , specially some the Shia's traditions and ceremonies , focusing mainly on females' position . it was my first time to read in details about (Sigheh) or what we know in Arabic as (pleasure marriage and it is forbidden for sunni so I do not know much about, also I am not sure if all Shia approve it), this marriage is nothing but a sexual relationship, where a woman is a trapped in weird position among : wife ..mistress and prostitute ! trying to hold on to a man that she will never really possess and a dignity that she may never restore ! this part was portrayed in a very touching way , even the direct graphical sexual descriptions (which were more than what I expected) functioned with the nature of the heroine's miserable situation . and through this axis it is the author's target discussing feminism ..freedom and independency , the concept here was very strong presented and may be that what made the ending - somehow- left open. - the folk or fairy tales : Each chapter ended with a one , trying to tie the characters' lives & destines to heritage and Persian historical magical context , some were regionally rooted like (Haroot and Maroot) , some historically like (Laila's mad) , and some legendry , they fit in some parts and did not in others , but in general it was a clever enhancing method for the environment the author tried to materialize .. A final quote that presented the title (by the heroine) : (I thought about all the labor and suffering that were hidden beneath a carpet , starting with the materials . vast fields of flowers had to be murdered for their dye , innocent worms boiled alive for their silk - and what about the knitters ? must we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of rugs ?) This novel is from the kind that I could not put down until finishing it ...

  • Erica
    2019-03-25 07:15

    As a contemporary piece of modern feminism, this is a terrible book. Thankfully, it wasn't meant as such. Rather, it's a new fairy tale, one that I felt was woven as beautifully as the rugs described therein.The reader, Shohreh Aghdashloo (you know, this woman) makes this story magical, wonderful, intriguing, and even sensuous probably because of her dusky voice and lovely accent but also because she does a good job subtly bringing the characters to life. I highly recommend listening to this...unless you're Cecily.The author is Iranian-American and she says in the interview at the end that she came to the States at a young age but that she returned to Iran to visit family when she was older. This fairy tale-like story, based only in the author's imagination and not on an older tale, blends Persian storytelling with American story-hearing, which is to say it showcases an older culture fairly different from what we're used to but that it makes sense to the American reader because of the way it is told, with the beginning that flows to the middle that flows to the end. No, not all cultures tell their stories that way but we Americans love order so that's how we structure our tales. Anyway, it starts like a Disneyfied bit of the Arabian nights and then suddenly gets real and finally morphs into a by-the-bootstraps tale (see? Appeals to American sensibilities!) It's recognizable and relatable while still foreign.The treatment of women in this story is going to upset some readers. I was more grossed out by the old men and their young wives thing; that always makes me feel a bit skeeved. I kept having to remind myself: A) that this is a reflection of societal norms from another time in another culture ; B) that it's a story. I'm supposed to listen, reflect, and learn, not judge (hahahah! Whatever. I just said that to sound smart. I judge EVERYthing ALL the time); and C) to just shut up and listen to this story, freakshow. Stop over analyzing it and just enjoy it.And that's what I did. I enjoyed it. I liked how our (intentionally) nameless protagonist was an adored daughter, then a homeless waif, then a sex slave (essentially) then a homeless waif again, and all the while a blossoming rug-maker. I like the things she discovered about herself, about her parents, about the world. I even liked being frustrated at her stupidity, at her inability to think rationally, at her being portrayed as passionate/base/bull-headed. If that sounds boring then might I recommend this to anyone interested in textiles, Persian rugs, especially. I suspect such readers will enjoy the descriptions of rug-making that weave (yes, I totally did that) throughout the tale. Anyone who likes storytelling within stories will enjoy this (well, probably).I think the content would have been better described had the title been The Girl Who Made A LOT Of Really Poor Decisions and Almost Didn't Learn Anything Until It Was Too Late, though, honestly, I am kind of surprised it wasn't called First There Wasn't and Then There Was though I guess anything with the word "blood" in the title is going to be more noticeable.Ok. Now I'm going to be an ass.I kept wanting this guy to show up and sweep nameless rug-maker off her feet so she could marry him and tell us how great he was at sex:Because I would totally be part of that dude's harem.

  • Dem
    2019-03-23 13:25

    3.5 stars The Blood of flowers is a historical fiction novel and a love story, which is set in 17th century Iran. As a lover of historical fiction I was really looking forward to this novel.The Blood of Flowers is a really enjoyable novel about a young woman and only child whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. This novel details Persian rug-making, and brings to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan. This is a powerful and haunting story about a 14 year old girls journey from her carefree childhood into adulthood and a great insight into a world unknown to most of us.I really enjoy novels that depict different cultures and customs and really found this novel interesting especially the way in which the people lived and the scenery of this country which was very well described in the novel. The author spent nine years researching and writing this book and when reading the novel you certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into this book as the author not only tells a story she educates the reader along the way.I really enjoyed the characters and this novel has a wonderful sense of time and place which is so important to me when reading historical fiction novels.I probably would have given this book 4 stars but I found the fairytale stories within the story quite tedious and while a couple seemed to fit with the plot other just seemed pointless and for me took away from the overall enjoyment of the novel.Having said that this is a very enjoyable and interesting read and one I will recommend to friends. I also think this would make a great book club read as there are lots of topics for discussion.

  • Iris
    2019-03-25 06:16

    Review to come.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-03 09:09

    This novel provides a fascinating look into the culture of 17th century Persia, especially from the perspective of women of all social classes. Particularly fascinating was the detailed look at the art of rugmaking and the traditional folk stories told by the narrator and the narrator's mother. I also liked that the narrator was headstrong and willful, but in a realistic way that often ended in tragedy for her. Such a narrator made the story accessible for both a modern and a Western audience as it made me realize how brash American thinking and actions can have implications one can not predict nor even imagine when interacting with another society--particularly those in the Middle East. While the story seems to often be headed in the traditional "happily ever after" direction, it doesn't--a few plot lines that I thought were going to be trite and predictable actually surprised me by not ending up where I thought they would (trying not to give away any spoilers here, but suffice it to say that I found the ending to be very appropriate).

  • Chrissie
    2019-03-18 08:31

    Anita Amirrezvani has in this novel of historical fiction told of life during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great of Persia. It is thoroughly engaging. It accomplishes what the best historical fiction can do; enveloping the readers in a foreign time and place, teaching about a culture, not just the dry facts, but rather how life would be there and then. You forget you are leaning and instead absorb the culture through the lives of people you encounter in the story. Shah Abbas (reign from 1571-1629) promoted Iranian culture and the arts, including the famed Isfahan carpets. Carpet making and the lives of the people who made these carpets is the central theme of the book. What was it like to be a carpet maker at those times, in the 1600s in Persia? How were they made, what designs were used, what dyes were available? Who did what? Who bought the rugs, who sold the rugs? And the questions diversify. What were the bazaars like? How did the people live? Where did they bathe? Did they bathe? (I would love to go to a “hammam”!) What foods did they eat? What herbal remedies were chosen? What mystical customs were believed in? What were the beliefs of the common people? The comet that crossed the sky, what did that portend? And how did men and women relate to each other? I learned a lot and it all sunk in without an effort. All of these questions are answered. And as befits a novel about art, and making rugs is an art, the language was vivid and colorful, as vivid as the rugs themselves.For centuries there has existed the Iranian practice of sigheh. This is a legal marriage contract for a specified time period. It was used when the woman’s family had no money for a dowry. In the more respected marriage contracts the family of the woman would pay a large sum of money to the man’s family, a dowry. In the sigheh contract the man’s family pays the money to the woman’s family and the man thereby has conjugal rights for a specific time period. Thus the contract was temporary, although it could be renewed. Why would a woman do this? She loses her virginity, and once lost it can never be bought back. Her value is gone. Some women were forced into this by their parents. Some women hoped they would become pregnant, and maybe a permanent marriage contract would follow. Sigheh is a central theme of this novel, and you will understand what it really was like to live under such a contract.Poems and tales are a central part of Persian culture. The author interweaves known Persian fables seamlessly into the story. The wonderful author’s note at the end of the book explains the source of these fables. Two of them are her own, but they are indistinguishable from the original tales. I loved all of them.I never wanted to stop reading. The plot line drew my attention and kept me turning the pages. It was neither predictable nor unbelievable. Both the fables and the prime protagonist’s character traits made me believe in the ending. The ending worked for me. I cannot explain more without giving spoilers. (view spoiler)[OK, maybe it is a bit of a fairy tale, but sometimes people are lucky. It could have turned out this way, with a little bit of luck. Given all the misfortune, I want a book with a little bit of happiness too. No, it was not unbelievable at all! Fables are both a central part of the book and the Iranian culture and so the ending worked too. More I will not say. You must read the book to understand completely.(hide spoiler)]The characters are human, they make mistakes. There is friendship and respect and astounding cruelty, but all, except for one character that was mean from start to finish, were such a delightful mix of good and bad that they felt made of flesh and bone. You can almost forgive some of the bad things that happen. Only some things, other happenings will infuriate you. Overall there is a good mix.And I love it when a book of historical fiction has a thorough author’s note. It was the dot over the i, just the perfect ending for a really great book of historical fiction. The author has recently written another novel:Equal of the Sun. I will have to read that too.

  • Imi
    2019-03-21 11:31

    "I thought about all the labour and suffering hidden beneath a carpet [...] All our labours were in the service of beauty, but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers."The Blood of Flowers is a carefully crafted historical novel set in the 17th century Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great. This is historical fiction at its best, thoroughly absorbing the reader in another time and place and introducing them to past cultures and ways of life. The effort the author put into researching this time period is clear (she mentions in the author's note/interview at the end of the book that she spent 9 years researching for this novel) and the result allows the reader to fully experience the rich colours, sounds, smells, views and tastes of Iran at this time. I was captivated by the beautiful descriptions of Isfahan, the city's sights, the work of the carpet makers and other craftsman, the food, the folklore. It was a wonderful experience in which I really felt that I had been transported to this time and place.The novel is a beautiful coming-of-age story of a young girl who has a gift for traditional carpet craft as she moves, due to some rather tragic events, from the familiarity of her carefree childhood home in a small village to the world of the unknown in the big city. I loved that the protagonist is determined and passionate, but clearly very young and immature, which means that she fails to think things through properly before making some very poor decisions. The book clearly shows how difficult the position of women at this time was, by the fact that the decisions of a girl this young can have such harsh consequences for both her and her family. The urge to shake some sense into her was so strong, but only because she was such a realistic, sympathetic and likeable character, and her bad decisions were very believable due to her inexperience and rashness. I really cared for her as a character, so this part of the novel was particularly strong. By the end of the novel, the reader has observed as the protagonist matures and grows in many different ways, and despite being a dark and difficult book at times, I also felt this made the novel beautifully uplifting and hopeful.As I said, there are parts of the novel that are very dark. One of the important lessons that the protagonist learns is that life is very often unfair, especially for a woman. For some reason, I've read a lot of very depressing books recently, but although there is a lot of pain, suffering and cruelty covered in this novel, Amirrezvani demonstrates that usually life is a mix of the good and the bad. Some reviewers have said parts of the book were a little bit "fairy-tale", but I don't think so (at least not in the sense that the events are unrealistic). I'd like to believe that there is a lot of good in the world, along with the bad, and I was glad to read a book that reflects that.That said, fables or fairy tales play an important role in Persian heritage and culture, and, therefore, Amirrezvani decided to include several adapted folk tales, scattered throughout the novel, which complimented the events of the main narrative. These tales were excellent and I appreciated them as another fascinating insight into the culture. As Amirrezvani explains in her brilliant author's note at the end of the book, she took further inspiration from Persian folk tales when structuring the main narrative and in the fact that the protagonist is left unnamed, which is a traditional feature of folk tales.My only complaint is that a large part of the novel is taken up by the protagonist's involvement in the Iranin practise of a sigheh, basically a tempory marriage contract, usaully for the sexual pleasure of the man. The practise itself was interesting, especially in terms of its impact on the woman's position in society, but it did mean that there were a number of sex scenes in this part of the novel, where the protagonist increasingly grows in confidence in the bedroom. Personally, I usually find reading about sex rather dull, so these parts of the novel dragged a little for me and I don't think it was necessary for this part of the novel to be so drawn out. However, I didn't think this reason enough to drop a star from my rating, as the sex scenes weren't painfully bad, as they can be in some books, and I understood their purpose in the overall narrative and in discussing issues around women's independence.In conclusion, I hope I've done this novel justice in this review and managed to the outline the reasons why this novel worked so well for me personally. I highly recommend it both to lovers of historical fiction and those interested in reading about a strong young woman. In the future, I'd love to read more books about the reign of Shah Abbas, which seems to be a fascinating period of history, as I've learnt both by reading this novel and wonderful author's note/interview at the end. Thank you, Anita Amirrezvani, for your effort in crafting such a beautiful book.

  • Misfit
    2019-03-12 07:30

    The Blood of Flowers is the story of a young girl (never named) in 17C Persia whose father dies unexpectedly and left destitute. She and her mother are forced to seek shelter from her uncle, a wealthy rug maker in the city of Isfahan. Despite their status in the household as nothing better than servants the girl shows a talent for rug making and design and with no male heir of his own to succeed in his craft her uncle takes the girl under his tutelage. Enough of the reviews recap the story sufficiently that I don't need to rehash it again, but suffice it to say that a series of bad choices made by the girl lead her and her mother into extreme poverty and to the brink of making the most difficult choice of all. Apparently the author spent nine years researching and writing this book and those details do show throughout the book, and it's always nice to get an inside look at a lesser known country and it's culture and customs, and most especially the art of rug-making. I really did enjoy this book and had a hard time putting it down whilst reading it, but I have the same issues the other three star reviewers had. The ending was too rushed; another 50-100 pages carrying it to a more successful conclusion would have really rounded it out much better. I also didn't care for the little "short stories" that the author inserted to shed additional light on her story. Frankly, I ended up skipping them and I don't feel I missed anything in doing so. And last, but not least, the behavior of the main character and the selfish choices she made really didn't endear her to me, nor did any other character in the book - I just flat out didn't like anyone but the mother. I'm glad I read it, but it's not a book and characters that are going to stick with me long after I've finished it. Three stars.

  • Ubaidah
    2019-03-09 11:19

    It is a very hypnotic tale. I was really absorbed into the story-line and I felt I had time-traveled to the 17th-century Persian myself. I really adore the courage of the unnamed main character who still manage to move on after each of the misfortunes that had befallen her. This story also shows how a girl matures into a women and how her dreams evolve with time. I also got the inside into the culture of Shia muslim, which I had never know. I love how the narrator is so passionate about carpet making, and I believe from now onwards I would never view a carpet as I used to see. I am glad that I picked this book from the shelves of the bookstores, which was really random.

  • Eh?Eh!
    2019-02-22 07:08

    The descriptions of rug-making are interesting, such an involved and laborious process for this art. The story itself...also interesting but the characters were flat as paper. Occasionally they would be creased and folded into revealing some facet of personality but still in a disjointed way.Life for women sucked back in those days!

  • Janice
    2019-03-11 08:26

    In a word, this novel is rich! I felt infused with colour, aroma, passion and flavour. The intention of the author was to give her readers a feeling of what life was like in Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great in the 17th century. Also woven into the story was the history of Persian rug making. Another historical part of the novel was the inclusion of some traditional folk tales. The first and last folk tale were created by the author, but the others were traditional stories. They all began with, "First there wasn't, and then there was. Before God, no one was." One of the highlights of the book for me was the narrator of the audiobook, Shohreh Aghdashloo. Her lilting melodic voice, rich in her native Iranian accent, made the story more real. At first, I had to listen carefully so I could understand her accent. That quickly passed, and I settled into listening to her narration.I appreciated that Anita Amirrezvani did not pussyfoot around the sexual scenes. In my opinion, it demonstrated the passion of the Iranian people and defined the purpose of the sigheh (pronounced by Shohreh as sir-aye), which is a legal marriage contract with a specified term designed generally for the sexual pleasure of the husband. A sigheh could be as short as an hour and as long as months or years and may be renewed repeatedly. The first time I had heard of this was when I read Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir.Perhaps the biggest outcome of the story for me was that it gave me a new appreciation for the beauty and richness of the Iranian culture, notwithstanding the treatment of women. Now if only I could afford to buy a Persian rug!

  • Nicolette
    2019-03-15 08:08

    THE BLOOD OF FLOWERSBy Anita Amirrezvani(Headline Review)SET in 17th century Iran, this novel tells the tale of a young village girl who has her destiny shattered after a comet blazing across the sky is seen as a bad sign.Her family is about to arrange her marriage but the comet spells disaster. And after the death of her father, her hopes of marriage are dashed.The nameless heroine and her mother go in search of her uncle, Gostaham, in the city of Isfahan. There, they are taken in as servants by Gostaham and his mean wife, Gordiyeh.They are worked hard in the kitchen but the girl prefers to spend time with her carpet-designing uncle. Back in her village she was one of the best carpet knotters and she is determined to learn everything about carpets from Gostaham so she can use this to her advantage later on.The reader is introduced to the world of knots, wool, dyes, designs and everything else that goes into making a carpet. While the future looks bright for the girl, she is forced into marriage after a disgraceful act and must rely on her artistic genius and her extraordinary will to save herself and her mother.Iran-born Anita Amirrezvani was raised in San Francisco but has visited Iran many times to learn about her heritage. This is her first novel and it weaves a charming tale that transports the reader to another country and time. Isfahan will come alive in your soul and mind. Those who liked Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns will enjoy The Blood of Flowers, which was recently on Exclusive Books’ Boeke shortlist for accessible, engrossing reads. — Nicolette Scrooby

  • Kata
    2019-03-21 11:27

    This book pulled me across the ocean and back in time to 17th century Persia. A young woman, after the loss of her father, travels with her mother from a small village to Isfahan. There they live with the young woman's uncle. Upon their arrival it is made clear to them that they will be servants in the household. In Isfahan, the young girl's fate becomes worse than that which she may have had in her small village. The young girl, who I believe remains nameless (Aziz?), is a talented artist and weaves rugs into beautiful works of art, but she is a YOUNG woman and makes many mistakes in her life. Mistakes with family, friends and her art are lessons from which she grows into a strong independent woman. A climb in which she realizes her true fate in life. Her mother is the absolute center of her life. And while the bond between mother-daughter is strong in this book it doesn't carry the plot too far adrift. The book provides us with strong female characters in a time period in which independence and feminism may not be even remotely considered by most. Though if you have your doubts, I point you towards the very intriguing Nur Jahan (15th century) feminist-fatale. I will admit the book was a bit on the romantic side and there were a few steamy sexual interactions for a moment or two I thought, "am I reading 50 Shades of Gray in 17th century Persia?". Don't get me wrong the steamy scenes were good. Amirrezvani teeters on a fine line sometimes.Amirrezvani utterly pleased me with her unique ending. And I do not give anything away by saying it does not end with the young girl getting married and having children and living happily ever after. Thank you ever so much for that Amirrezvani! If you've read other authors who write about Persia, such as Elif Shafak or Indu Sundaresan (my favs), this books reminds me a bit of their writing. Amirrezvani creates an elaborate landscape and unique characters. Her writing is lyrical and stunning. Such as this quote from where the title originates, "All our labors were in service of beauty, but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers." Or on the deeply romantic side, "Look in the face of your beloved, for in that mirror, you will see yourself." If you need an easy uncomplicated vacation, don't mind traveling back in time (some don't) and can handle a bit of romance mixed with feminism - give Amirrezvani a go!

  • Vic Van
    2019-03-04 12:20

    I found this book on one of my mother's shelves quite a few years ago and it had been sitting on mine ever since. I am glad now that I finally felt in the mood to actually read it because the story was very much to my liking.The author spent a lot of time researching the historical details, so I can only assume that the story is fairly accurate as far as the customs and descriptions of everyday life were in those days in Iran.One thing is for sure. Women didn't have easy lives in Iran in those days. They were entirely dependent on the goodwill and generosity of their male family members. In a way this book implicitly denounces that.To some extent the story was predictable, but in a book such as this, I don't mind that. One reads a story such as this in the hope of learning something and of being distracted from present day misery, and confident of a happy ending.I liked the characters. I felt the author did a good job in capturing the life in and the atmosphere of Isfahan in those days.It might have been nice, if the book had contained illustrations of the carpets/tapestries created in the course of the story.

  • Peggy
    2019-03-10 12:17

    I just put Iran on my real-life travel wishlist! I loved the descriptions in this book, I felt like I was there in Isfahan, visiting the Image of the World, the Thirty Three Arches Bridge, the bazaar, seeing carpet makers and other craftsman at work, being overwhelmed by all the smells, sounds, views and tastes. I loved learning so much about Iranian life, culture and traditions.

  • Petra
    2019-03-12 07:30

    A beautifully rich and textured story of a young girl in 17th Century Persia. This poor girl goes through many trials but stays true to her conscience and beliefs. I really enjoyed the fables and tales interwoven in the story.

  • زينب مرهون
    2019-03-11 08:17

    هذا الكتاب هو تجسيد السحر الشرقي ومعالمه التاريخية.لتأخذنا الكاتبة عبر رحلة ماتعة لمدينة تتنفس الفن." أصفهان"المدينة الفيروزية المزيّنة بالذهب، والتي وصفوها سكانها أصفهان نصف جهان أي «أصفهان نصف العالم».واصفة لنا الكاتبة سحر المدينة ومعالمها وطقوس أهلها ومعتقداتهم. هذا النوع من هذا الأدب هو بمثابة تذكرة سفر وأنت في منزلك، الأدب الذي يجعلك تمشي نحو طرقات أصفهان وعينيك تنبهر من سحر التفاصيل المعمارية، التفاصيل التي تراها وكأنك تقرأ قصيدة. " دماء الأزهار " هي قصة فتاة ايرانية قروية تغادر قريتها إلى المدينة لتروي قصة المعاناة والفقر وقصة الفن المولود في داخلها لتحكي لنا قصة السجاد ومشقة حياكة السجاد.السجاد الذي يعتقده البعض بأنّه شيء يُشترى ويُباع ويُجلس عليه لا أكثر لكن من يهتم بالنظر إلى السجاد يدرك مدى أهمية صنع السجاد ومدى الفن المحبوك في كل عقدة.

  • Shomeret
    2019-03-09 13:20

    A GR friend complained of the central character's misjudgments. I never forgot that she was 16-17 when she was making the decisions described. This is an age when many people make mistakes due to inexperience and lack of knowledge about how the world works. I think that what seems to be common sense to older people is actually wisdom acquired through the process of maturation.I also think that the largest mistake that impacted the main character's life wasn't hers at all. It's due to a cross-cultural perceptual mistake made thousands of years ago about the nature of marriage. Some of her later errors were made in an attempt to correct that more fundamental mistake.I did learn about Persian culture and I think it was a great choice for Iran in the Around the World challenge. I think the tale at the end of the book illustrates the central character's decision about her future. Some reviews appear to want this book to be a romance with HEA. It isn't one. It's a literary novel. I was actually pleased with the way this book ended. I feel that the main character grew and changed in the course of the narrative.

  • HomeInMyShoes
    2019-02-22 12:11

    This was good. Very good. Worth reading just for the traditional stories at the end of each section.

  • Tania
    2019-03-24 12:22

    I enjoyed reading about Iran in the 1620's. The author did a very good job of painting a picture of what life was like, and I could almost see Ishafan. For me the most interesting aspect of the novel was learning so much about the making of persian carpets. The only reason why The Blood of Flowers didn't get a higher rating was that I never connected emotionally with any of the characters.The Story: Anticipating an arranged marriage only to discover that her father has passed away without leaving her with a dowry, a seventeenth-century Persian teen becomes a servant to her wealthy rug designer uncle in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great, where her weaving talents prove both a blessing and curse.

  • Syl
    2019-03-18 12:38

    an enthralling read, especially so because I just love reading about other times, other cultures and how women used to fare....this is the story of a female rug maker of Iran set in the 17th century (though the book never mentions the time period, I came to know through other reviews I read about the book). We are taken through her aspirations and tribulations and journey from childhood to early womanhood. One word of caution, though: at one stage in the book, there is a lot of adult content involved - which may put off certain people and which certainly does not do for children. Otherwise it is quite a good story told in a crisp, attention-capturing way

  • Tara
    2019-03-11 14:26

    A truly inspirational story about a woman forced into impossible choices and situations. A very different story than what I usually read, but I could not help but get entranced by its lyrical language intertwined with persian stories/fables. Under the surface, it beckoned the reader to look into what freedom means especially as a woman and asks the reader to consider what one would do or rather endure for one's family or for money/survival.

  • Sharon
    2019-02-28 12:24

    Overall I enjoyed it. I appreciated being immersed in a different culture while I read, and thought the prose was beautiful in a lyrical storytelling approach sort of way. (Had it been a different type of book, I would've been annoyed by the writing.) I liked the storytelling aspect, and how the different stories the characters told were reflected in their actions later on. I don't know that it's one I'd reread, but it was worth reading once.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-20 07:36

    I loved this book. It was a fascinating read. The descriptions of how the rugs were made really held my attention. I would definitely recommend taking the time to read this.

  • Simmonsmry
    2019-03-19 06:14

    In the blink of an eye, everything can change. One tragic event can send lives spiralling down a staircase full of unknowns. In her debut novel, Anita Amirrezvani explores this theory through the eyes of a young Iranian woman living in the 17th century. At the age of 14, the unnamed narrator is looking forward to a new chapter in her life. She is expecting to be married before the year is out and her only troubles come from worrying about how her family will raise a sufficient dowry to offer a suitable man. Then an unexpected tragedy occurs. Her beloved father dies and she and her mother are left alone with no one to protect and provide for them in their village. When her uncle offers his assistance, they have no alternative but to leave their home and travel to the city of Isfahan - a place so unfamiliar it may as well be in a foreign country. As the novel unfolds, the young woman begins to take lessons from her uncle on the art of rug-making, but some rash decisions put her in a position where she is forced to consent to a form of short-term marriage known as a sigheh, which threatens to ruin her reputation and her future prospects. Through all of her struggles, impassioned decisions and bold demonstrations of her independence, the young woman has one constant in her life: the art she is compelled to create. "It was as if I were living within the surface of the carpet myself, surrounded by its soothing colors and its images of eternal tranquility. Lost in its beauties, I forgot the misery around me." But like everything in life, there are two sides to the beautiful craft. The work is physically intense, causing injury and sometimes permanent damage to the women who sacrifice themselves for the sake of a rug. "All our labours were in service of beauty, but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers." Amirrezvani takes us on an intriguing journey into this young woman's experience. She has created a character who represents the countless female artisans who have practised their craft and received little recognition or compensation for the beauty they have created for others at their own expense and labour. 'The Blood of Flowers' is an intricate design, knotted with detail and precision. Every word has its place in the broader story, creating a piece of art that is beautiful and designed to stand the test of time. Transporting us into a past that reveals elements of the present, this novel will continue to delight and mesmerize readers of the future.

  • Caro
    2019-03-16 10:08

    My biggest problem with the book is that it had an incredibly weak ending. The story is more or less a pauper's tale, a young girl's life is filled with lamentable woe and bad luck after bad luck. The main character, an unnamed young girl, has skills as a carpet maker which was the only part of the book I could stand. The details that went into making a carpet were very labor intensive and the only thing of interest.The main character's plight was more annoying that sympathy inducing. She was nearly the cause of all her own problems and it seemed that she sought to blame everyone around her for her problems. She was incredibly whiny and made incredibly stupid decisions. Honestly, she and her mother should have died in the story if it wasn't for the fact that she had a rich uncle who took her in afterwards.The last forty pages were an attempt at making the story a happy ending when the author should have ended the reader's misery and either just killed the girl or made her actually earn her own merit, instead of having the uncle save her. By having the uncle save her, it just made it seem like she was a petty child who refused to apologize after her wrongdoings because of her pride. It was like the Graveyard of the Fireflies, where the two children might have been able to survive if he had just kept his mouth shut and stayed with his relatives, no matter how uncomfortable he was.But no. Instead, we had to deal with some sap story as how the main character, because she's a woman, gains the trust of the shah (the richest and most influential man in the town)'s concubine and then becomes rich and famous.Ugh.The story was also punctuated with many short stories and poems of the Arabic tradition. Having taken a class on Bedouin and Arabic poetry, I understand that Arabic literature is often like this, which random poetry interspersed throughout the stories in a kind of frame storytelling style. However, it doesn't work here, no matter how interesting the stories are, they detract from the main plot and I often found myself wanting to skip over them just because they had little to do with the actual plot.For all its faults, I did enjoy the very detailed insight on how to make a carpet and the Arabic tradition and the way women were treated. The technical details were incredibly fascinatinig and I would have liked to read more on how to hand make carpets. That alone was good enough for me to give this book a three.

  • Steve Lindahl
    2019-03-19 06:25

    The Blood of Flowers is a historical novel set in 17th century Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great. It's the story of a young woman who spends her first years in a small village, then, after the death of her father, moves to Isfahan, a large center of commerce. The culture and economy is male dominated, so when the narrator loses her father, she and her mother have to depend on the good will of an uncle, who is a carpet maker for the Shah. (The uncle's wife isn't thrilled with the extra expenses that come with these two relatives.)The narrator is also an excellent carpet maker. Perhaps the talent runs in the family, but it still feels like a coincidence that this young woman ends up in a place where she can develop her skills. The book's one weakness is the author's use of coincidences. This is one. There's another later in the book that is critical to the plot.The culture also has a tradition that seems to benefit the men in this male dominated society. Men, who can have many wives, can also marry some of them for short periods of time. A marriage like this is called a sigheh and can range from months to an hour in length. A sigheh is legal, but doesn't have the status of a full marriage. The roles of the women in these marriages seem to fall somewhere between the position of a permanent wife and a prostitute. The shorter the length of time for a singheh the less status there is. However, there are financial benefits to a sigheh marriage and the children of those marriages are generally acknowledged.I loved the way this book transported me to a culture that is so different from our modern one. There were so many instances where characters were forced to act or dress (picheh and chador) in ways that seemed unfair, but this was all they knew so the rules didn't bother them. Yet in some ways the narrator overcame gender traditions, specifically when it came to her carpets.The other part of the book that I found fascinating was the relationship between the narrator and her mother. They always loved each other, but sometimes disappointed each other as well. And often, because of the cultural differences, the one I saw as the guilty party and the one they saw as the guilty party were not the same.Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul