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.
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!
Meticulously researched and elegantly written story of a young woman's life in 17th C Persia. Rich with sensory experience of every kind, this beautiful story seems to be woven in pace with the carpets that form its background. Lovely.
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.
Who doesn't love a Cinderella story? Aziza and her mother must leave their rural village to seek shelter with a wealthy distant relative in the great city of Isfahan after their beloved father and husband dies. The wealthy family takes them in and treats them like servants. Aziza, however, drinks in the beauty of the city and uses every opportunity to learn about carpet making. Her own resourcefulness and persistence help her to claw her way up life's ladder, rung by agonizing rung, only to be pulled back down again by her own youthful impulsiveness. The setting and time are evoked in dazzling detail, and the reader is superlative in evoking the Middle Eastern culture. A thoroughly engrossing, captivating, and satisfying storytelling experience.
This was a very interesting portrait of a young woman's life in 16th century Iran. The reader was just perfect--I love her voice (and I loved her in The House of Sand and Fog).
Avid audio book gobbler, hungry for stories, words strung together into strands
What a wonderful, dynamic, lavishly written epic story. So much beauty in the words, painting pictures of a time gone by, in a place whose culture is so mysterious to much of the world. A powerful protagonist who makes lemonade from lemons and rises up with inspiration, in the face of oppression. Lush evocative depictions of exotic lands, beautiful stories, wonderful characters that you care for, great story arcs :) the narrator was gorgeous, never wanted her to stop speaking with her rich sultry accent!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is a subtle and artistically written story of a young girl becoming a women in 17th century Iran. The story is, in one sense, a conventional coming of age story, yet the environment in Persia, resonates with the modern struggle of women for their basic rights. We are shown a young girl with an innate desire for fairness thwarted by the society, including her closest relatives, and she must find, within herself, either the willingness to submit, or the power to contest.
The action in this novel is almost exclusively internal and subtle (even beyond the awareness of the protagonist), thus many listeners may find the story completely boring. I did not find the story exciting, but like a slow and pleasant journey down a beautifully meandering river.
The story is punctuated by telling of pleasant folk tales which illuminate the main story. The protagonist faces loss and deprivation and is forced into sigheh, the pre-Islamic and Shiite temporary marriage for pleasure contract (which is shaming for the female and her family, but honorable for the male).
The narration is excellent with a rich fullness of a storyteller and a mild accent that is perfectly clear and enhances the experience.
Overall this was a very enjoyable listen, but fell just short of greatness. Although simple, full, and beautiful, it lacked, for me, a deepest level of meaning that I hope for in the best of fiction.
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!!