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The Blood of Flowers | [Anita Amirrezvani]

The Blood of Flowers

In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. 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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: I knew Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo from her Oscar-nominated performance in The House of Sand and Fog, and hoped for another star turn in her narration of Anita Amirrezvanivs debut novel - I wasn't disappointed. Aghdashloo's deep, raspy voice is absolutely haunting, whether describing the (surprisingly) fascinating intricacies of rug-making or re-telling the Iranian folktales that are woven into the story. A colorful, lush tale that I didn't want to end. —Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. 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.

©2007 Anita Amirrezvani; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility...make this a winning debut." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1207 )
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4.3 (656 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Constance New York, NY, United States 10-13-12
    Constance New York, NY, United States 10-13-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Aspiration, despair, courage in 14th c. Persia"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Brigantine, NJ, United States 02-26-09
    Nancy Brigantine, NJ, United States 02-26-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Elegant, richly written historical fiction"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ninjachinchin SOUTHWEST RANCHES, FL, United States 01-30-12
    Ninjachinchin SOUTHWEST RANCHES, FL, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2011

    Books make the world a better place

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    "WARNING: YOU CAN'T STOP LISTENING!!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Blood of Flowers?

    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.


    What does Shohreh Aghdashloo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan's Gal Sal Twin Cities, MN 08-07-08
    Dan's Gal Sal Twin Cities, MN 08-07-08 Member Since 2002
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    "Draggin' in the Middle"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-31-08
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-31-08 Member Since 2005

    malfi

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    "Fascinating"

    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).

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexis Chicago, IL, USA 08-22-07
    Alexis Chicago, IL, USA 08-22-07
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    "Spellbinding"

    I absolutely loved this audio book. The book tells such a wonderful story and the narrator's voice lends such depth and feeling to the story. This is a must-listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cassandra pacific, MO, United States 12-09-12
    Cassandra pacific, MO, United States 12-09-12
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    "Wonderful story"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 05-21-12
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Compelling story in 17th Century Persia"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Budd Canada 01-16-12
    Janice Budd Canada 01-16-12 Member Since 2009
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    "In a word - Rich!"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-08-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-08-11 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Coming from a guy, I find little to recommend here"

    I could not find anything terribly interesting about the book. I liked the narration a lot. While it's not uncommon that I highly rate chick flicks, this book is perhaps one that can only be appreciated by a women. One of my Audible selections was He Said She Said and I through it I have come to understand that men and women by our very nature often do not appreciate the same kinds of things in life. If you are a woman, then maybe this book is for you; if you are a guy...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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