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.
Lawyer, Vietnam War draftee, Peace Corps Thailand, fan of the Constitution, Science Fiction lover, work in New York City, like bodysurfing
This is another book where a spunky girl/young woman who lost everything uses her grit and talent (in this case rug maker/designer) to survive. But it is so well written, so full of historic Persian detail (which I am sure is accurate but that didn't matter... the author brought me into that world), that I became hooked early on. Really well written and an excellent narration.
Shohreh Aghdashloo did a fantastic job of reading this story She used just the right amount of inflection without attempting to change her voice into other voices for different characters
I would compare The Red Tent to this book It has similar feminine themes and is also a great read
Yes The plot was great!
I would absolutely recommend this book. The story was captivating and I found myself sitting in the car just to listen.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
It takes a little time to get really wrapped up in this story - it is set in such a different time and place and your brain has to sort of "sync" up with this very different world. But once you get the sense of the world you have entered, the story is utterly engrossing and Shoreh's voice really pulls you in and leads you on to the point that it is hard to stop.
I loved the mix of middle-eastern folk tales into the narrative of the plot.
I definitely liked the heroine best, but since she is never named, I can't name her here! There is a view of 17th century Persian women in this book that I think would be hard to find in any other easily accessible story which is enlightening and fascinating. However, the male characters are only sketched - not enough detail to care about them much - and because the culture of that period was so completely oppressive to women, most of the women characters exhibit little strength or imagination. This is really not a book much focused on characters beyond the main character. Setting (time and place) drives most of the story and the real beauty of it is the lushness of the language and the intermingling of folk tales.
I don't think I'd really want to take any of these characters out to dinner, but I sure would like to throw a pie in the face that wicked aunt! This book is about people living in a world dictated by a 1000 years of religious tradition and a couple thousand years of cultural tradition that most of them simply accept independent of how unfair or just plain horrible some parts of that tradition are. It is an illuminating story, but I can't see wanting to spend time with people who can accept the level of injustice that many of these characters do.
This story takes place 400 years ago when virtually every society on earth was structured much like the Persian culture portrayed in the book - women treated as chattel, no safety net for the poor or handicapped, individuals holding no rights. It's sad that this should still be the state of affairs in much of the world. However, The Blood of Flowers without a cliched happy ending is a story about the ability for one person to rise above and for all the sadness in it, it is a really hopeful story. I highly recommend it.
Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)
This will sound strange, but it compares with The Help
My favourite scene would be a spoiler.
The 14 year old girl