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
"Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility...make this a winning debut." (Publishers Weekly)
This books appears to be have written to be read out loud. While listening to it, you feel like someone is sitting across from you in your living room and telling you their story. More importantly, with the middle east in the news every day, it educates the readers about the rich culture of Iran. 400 years later, many things have remained the same in parts of Iran, and that region. If you liked the "twentieth wife," "the bed of roses," Amy Tan's first novels or Lisa See's novel, you will love this book. I highly recommend it.
I am reviewing this book some months after reading it and I find myself revisiting the characters in my mind time and time again. What a wonderful book! I put this book in the Top 5 of all books I have read (listened to) and loved in my lifetime (46 years - 40 of those as an avid reader and most recently as an avid audiobook listener). The narrator, Shohreh Aghdashloo (who you may remember was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the displaced Iranian Colonel's wife in House of Sand and Fog)had the perfect accent and made the prose and the dialog flow easily and come alive more than any words on the page could. I would listen to anything she read. I have recommended this to friends and family and they have all loved it as well. Highly recommended!
This is one of those books that I worried about as I listened to it. The book was well-written, the subject a new one for me -- the protagonist is a young Persian woman faced with a dire life situation (this in 16-17th c Persia)who becomes a rug-maker. Lovely book, one learns about life and rugs (who knew how interesting that would be! It is!) but what I thought was interesting about this book is that again and again I thought -- ah please let the author not go down this path...or that path...and she didn't. I was very fearful that she would end the book badly -- and she didn't. Though she uses Persian fables as a framing device and I almost wished she hadn't used the last one, the book ends beautifully before the last story is told. But I was SO happy that the author almost always avoided the world of cliche that she seemed to be approaching. There were some exceptions (the fortune-teller who looks at the protagonist's palm after giving her best friend a fabulous life review and, when faced with the protagonist's palm, shrinks away in horror) but these were minor vs. the major events I feared. A minor quibble with the narrator-- the story is really a teenage girl's story, and the narrator is a much older woman -- she's an excellent reader but the voice itself is not well-matched to the novel.
Otherwise a lovely book, and always doubly delightful to read a book that sparks an interest in something I'd never cared much about (Persian rugs) before!
the voice of the narrator brought the exotic beauty of iran to life. she sounded like someone who had immigrated to the states from iran. it made the narration very personal.
"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." --Lemony Snicket
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.
Actor/director/teacher. Live most of the time in Beijing now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
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.
This book totally transported me into another world. It has become one of my favorite books and I have recommended it to a number of friends. I would advise you to listen to the sample first as the narrator's voice is very different. I found her voice to be very soothing and the accent to be beautifully musical and I would listen to another read by her but it may not be fore everyone. It was a fascinating listen.
I enjoyed the novel, particularly learning more about life in 17th century Persia and carpet making. Shohreh Aghdashloo's unique narration was a real bonus. I looked forward to my daily commute and the opportunity to hear this great actress read this tale.
I am a voracious reader with fairly eclectic taste. I like both fiction and non-fiction, biography, history and current events. I like well written mysteries and suspense and I love 19th and 20th century classical literature as well as modern fiction. My favorite author is Philip Roth but I also love Trollope, Hardy, Jonathan Franzen, Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. My favorite biographer is Robert Caro.
This is an audiobook I could not have finished if it weren't for the strong narration by Shohreh Aghdashloo who is a wonderful storyteller. The book is a sort of Perils of Pauline in 17th century Iran. The characters are not well developed or even coherent, but the setting is interesting and you learn a lot about Iranian culture. I have always wondered about the daily lives of people in different times in different countries and I found that historical fiction aspect of the book interesting. I found the lack of character depth frustrating because the book is so long and the story wanders everywhere but I have to admit I listened until the end. I think the narration made me want to finish, I don't think I could have finished this book if I were reading it on pages instead of hearing it.
I loved this book both because it depicted a woman's story in this area of the world, but also becuase I love oriental rugs. It's well written and well read and I was sorry to have it end.
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