When listening to audiobooks, I (being the picky person that I am) usually find that something is lacking either in narration, editing, or the story itself. However, this book is worthy of 5 stars. The story unfolds slowly and eloquently, with such beautiful detail that it feels like a rich dessert for the senses. Ever read a book that seemed to end before the actual story was over, as if the author lost the drive to continue and decided to leave the conclusion up to the readers' imagination? There were a couple points in the story where I expected that to happen- the author would simply end it and I'd be left wanting more. Luckily, this writer lovingly weaves the entire story together herself all the way through, leaving little left untold.
English spoken in any accent has a rhythm of it's own, which when found in the reading of this book, adds depth and authenticity to the richly woven characters in this coming of age novel that women of any age will intuitivley recognize and know. A wonderful escape to a mysterious new world that is both exciting and hauntingly familiar. Worth every minute.
And no, I don't mean there's a fire-breathing reptilian animal in the middle. :)
The beginning of this book is very good. You will get attached to the young woman and her loving parents in their small village in Iran (or is it Persia?). The end is wonderful as well, but the middle left a lot to be desired.
First of all, the naivete of the main character was frustrating. She was letting all sorts of things happen TO her and not doing a darn thing about it. Her family and friends were nagging, selfish and did little to support her, angering me further.
Then, the repetition began: the same words, phrases, situations, conflicts, solutions, internal monologues, errors, faults...boring. I think the author could have chopped out 90 minutes and we'd have understood her struggle just fine. The constant reiteration of her troubles, conflicts and foolishness was too much. I got sick and tired of hearing over and over again about her husband, her marriage contract, her relatives and money. Her whining didn't really help, either.
Stick with it through the tedious middle hour or two (or fast forward, you won't miss much) and you will be pleased with the ending. Our little protagonist grows up, gets a clue and starts making thing happen FOR her. She makes a way for herself (and her mother) without a man; she comes to the very true realization that not all family is related by blood and she learns that she can stand on her own two feet.
A good debut novel, but not worth the two hours of boredom. Unfortunately, not one to put on the must hear again list. Rates 3 out of 5 stars.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
The Persian setting is fascinating at times and clearly authentic in conception and detail. The story, however, while well developed and convincing, is also entirely conventional and devoid of surprises or compelling insights.
The author has incorporated the telling of several Persian folktales (I assume they are traditional) into the fabric of the story. They are perhaps the best part of the book, but they also interrupt, somewhat, the flow of the narrative.
The book is well served by the narrator, and I had no problem listening to the end, enjoying it for the most part. I would not, however, recommend it highly except for those with a special interest in Persian culture, folk tales or rug making.
I enjoyed learning about historical Iranian culture. The story was good with excellent character development. I just wish the main character didn't go through so much difficulty and pain to learn her lesson from bad decision making. Over and over and over again. It got a little ponderous working through everything with her on her journey. The story still remained captivating though! Hard to take my headphones off!!
I have read other books set in this time and environment, example " The People of the Book" and learned new things as well as enjoyed the story. This book started with an interesting concept and quickly went down hill. The characters felt shallow to me and the story became repetitive. I finished it hoping it would somehow redeem itself but I was disappointed.
I enjoyed the novel The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. I loved learning about the culture of Iran and the ancient art of rug/carpet making knot by knot. The author was able to transport me to seventeenth century Isfahan, Iran. The culture was so interesting. I also enjoyed how she described the carpets as works of art.
It was a very good story. I enjoyed reading about the young girl’s courage, her love of rug making, her attempt to rise above her current circumstances, and her difficult journey as she matures as a woman.
I could have done without the short folk tales that were added to each chapter, however, because I didn’t feel they added to the story at all.
The narrator, Shohreh Aghdashloo, really made the story! They couldn't have chosen a better narrator.
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The author's words skillfully and literally paint pictures while the narrator's voice/performance absolutely brings this story to life. This is one of the most beautiful and most luscious stories I have ever listed to. The turns of the main character's life are like one of the magnificent rugs she so admires and strives to achieve. Each colorful thread (or life experience) is a necessary contribution to her ultimate design. I highly recommend and will even go so far as to beg anyone and everyone who is looking for an exceptional story to listen/read The Blood of Flowers (Warning: contains sexually explicit passages, which may not be appropriate for children).
As the main character's mother was known for her 'honeyed-voice' and story-telling skills, I too was captivated by the many short-stories, anecdotes, etc., which the author wove into her main story.
THIS NARRATOR IS SPECTACULAR AND BEYOND WORDS! For me, listening to this book was pure magic as Shohreh's voice, her natural persian accent and her depth of emotion perfectly captured the characters and exotic elements in this book. I was transported and entranced!
As in any good book, there are aspects of this story which are devistating and heartbreaking but there is also hope. I fell in love with this audiobook. I loved the history, the culture, the saddness and the author's wonderous descriptions of Isfahan and its extreme opulence versus its poverty the main character encounters. Anita Amirrezvani is truely a gifted writer and I am definitely going to purchase EVERY audiobook narrated by Shohreh Aghdashloo.
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!
I LOVED this book! I fell in love with the heroine, and from the beautiful descriptions, I wanted to transport myself to 17th century Persia/Iran immediately! I looked up several references (the 33 Arches Bridge, The Friday Mosque, hand-knotting of Persian rugs) from the story and felt such a desire to know more about the culture.
The narrator's voice (Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo) was lilting and gorgeous. Silky, with a beautiful accent, it felt like the story was truly being told by the young rug maker herself or a family member. I think the narrator clinched this for me - I wish there were more books read by her - I've already downloaded another one read by her and look forward to listening to it. Enjoy!