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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,070
  • 4 Stars
    656
  • 3 Stars
    243
  • 2 Stars
    54
  • 1 Stars
    44

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    901
  • 4 Stars
    372
  • 3 Stars
    100
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    31

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    769
  • 4 Stars
    447
  • 3 Stars
    157
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    25
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  • Overall
  • Shaddi
  • Laguna Niguel, CA, United States
  • 06-30-07

I loved this book!

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.

56 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cheryl
  • San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 09-14-07

Top 5 on my lifelong list

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!

57 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A beautiful, fascinating education

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.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Persian delight

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!

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good narration, below average characters

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.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Clayton
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 06-22-09

Aghdashloo's narration adds a unique quality

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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Crystal
  • San Gabriel, CA, USA
  • 07-31-07

good narrator

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.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of my all-time favorites

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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant sensuous storytelling

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!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful