YES - Shohreh Aghdashloo's voice is mesmerizing, couple that with a great story and your are instantly transported to 17th century Iran. The story is simple with it's themes - Girl to woman, mother-daughter relationship and becoming your own person, but the way the tale is told is fantastic.
One girl's tale into self discovery...
I may in 10 years. I am certainly going to pass it along.
I think the descriptions of the rug-making process was the most interesting "character".
Her rich voice and authentic background
There were moments when I could not stop listening because of the intrigue!
touching, informative, magical
Historical fiction in a foreign (to me) place and time is always fun and educational, but I knew nothing about 17th c. Iran, so it is hard to compare to another specific book. Maybe The Red Tent or Tokaido Road in that they opened up a place in history in a personal way.
At first I did not like how low and gravelly her voice was all the time, made it hard to modulate for different voices. But her accent and pronunciation of the Arabic words are beautiful and once I got used to it, I loved it.
I love the way the author weaves traditional story-telling into the narrative and the way she illustrated the hardship of women's lives without rancor. The characters were rounded and real.
I enjoyed this book. I like historical fiction type writing...and while this didn't include a ton of history, there were cultural elements that I found educational. I liked the readers accent...I thought it really added to the story.
What a smooth, deep, and spellbinding voice this author has. (I almost thought it was Jeanne Moreau, from The Lover) It's almost hypnotizing! The story itself is very well written, and filled with emotional depth. I love the many scintillating descriptions of Indian food that made my mouth water, and the way so many little stories are told along the way between the mother and daughter. The author has a remarkable gift of welcoming you into a foreign world and making you feel quite at home. This was a credit well spent.
Learning about carpet design and getting a detailed peek into a world I knew nothing of was a privilege. The descriptions of the food, the customs, and clothing were fascinating.
The author, Anita Amirrezvani, artfully spins a plot that sucks the reader in. The conflict is gripping as the protagonist's fate unfolds. Adding to the pleasure of the story are the sumptuous details about the era. The bathing rituals of women. the banquets, the intricate patterns of rugs, the silk finery of the rich and powerful colour in a culture and time that is faint in the minds of many western readers.
The main character, an unnamed girl, was brought to life. Shohreh Aghdashloo's husky voice is compelling, and once I adjusted to her lush accent, I was totally entranced by her reading. I believe she must be a native speaker of Farsi, so it was a treat to hear the proper pronunciation of words and places. In particular, the exclamations of surprise and delight--"Voy!" stuck with me.
I am surprised that none of the reviews I read prior to reading the book mentioned that a solid portion of the book was about the main character's sexual awakening. Discussing this in too much detail would spoil the plot, which is probably the reason for this oversight. Indeed, I squirmed as I read about the initial sexual situation she found herself in. To my western mindset and sensibilities, it smacked of child abuse--she was a 15-year-old and the man was older. Her lack of power--the total inability to dissent--troubled me. That she wasn't repelled by what was happening to her was hard for me to accept. I don't, however, see this as a problem with the writing; it was more of a "TILT" due to cultural constructs.
The Blood of Flowers is as rich with detail as it is thick with tension. A satisfying resolution makes it an enjoyable and educational experience.
A vivid and compelling journey into the world of a beautiful and gifted young woman who triumphs as a rug designer in 17th Century Persia - despite her many losses, grinding poverty and a patriarchal culture designed to control and crush the independent spirits of young women. So glad I listened to this book; the reader's performance added richness and depth - pulling me in to the story.
The narration is fantastic! The story is absolutely perfect for reading aloud- its tone and perspective just like an old folk tale. It reminds me of the glorious feeling of being read to by my parents as a child; losing myself completely in the myths and fairy tales.
Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.
The extremely open look into a very closed world. The internal world of a Muslim woman - even today, let alone hundreds of years ago - is a mystery. Looking into the mind of a young, strong-willed woman within this world was facinating. I loved seeing the world through her eyes and her acceptance of some cultural norms I would find claustrophobic, while setting limits on which cultural expectations were not ok for her. Her ambition surprised and delighted me.
This was a departure for me, so I have no comparisons. That is one of the things I love about my Audible.com membership, I can try something new with little to no risk of feeling I have wasted my money. I normally like historical novels, but I usually stick to America or Western Europe. World War II is my era. But this voyage into the world of 17th century Persia was really unique for me. I am glad I went.
Osam (spelling?) A man who is kind in a culture where strength is prized above all, but gentle enough to love his wife and respect the ambition of a young girl in his world. I even like that the women in his life make him a little nuts and know how to get what they want by being - subservient. It was one of the funniest parts of the story. Without ruining the story, I was dissapointed in him a couple of times, knowing he was capapble of more, but no one is perfect, right?
I listen in the car, and I choose long books, so I rarely think of listening in one sitting. Having said this, I liked having time to mull over and re-examine some parts in my mind. I still go back and think of things in the story and ruminate on their meaning. I also enjoyed living in that world over the several days it took me to read it. It was such a rich experience - with such clear verbal pictures of colors, smells, food, drink, temperatures, ALL of it, that I felt steeped in another world - even when not in the car.
The only reason I did not give it five stars was the ending, which I wish had been a bit more...complete. It was not horrible, it just could have been a little...more. Be prepared, you may start craving hummus and lamb while reading this.