In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But 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.
Part Arabian nights fairytale, part historical fiction, and part feminist treatise, this novel combines different motifs in a delightful and captivating manner. Written in plain, earthy, yet colorful prose, interspersed with Persian folktales, Amirrzvani's strengths come from her ability to make the sounds, smells, and architecture of this ancient Persian world come alive. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Chicago Sun-Times by Mary Houlihan
By not giving her central character a name, Amirrezvani salutes all the anonymous artists of Iran, many of whom, if given the chance, would have equally entrancing stories to tell.
Entertainment Weekly - Allyssa Lee
Though the flowery prose can be distracting, Amirrezvani skillfully threads culture, romance, and art into an elegant tale of self-realization and empowerment. B+.
San Francisco Chronicle - Christine Thomas The Blood of Flowers is simply a stunning debut. One can't help but want to return to the charming main narrator and the entrancing tale of her quest for independence and self-reliance, her daring and honest exploration of love and desire for love, and above all the profound discovery, as Gostaham reminds her, that she "must begin to understand [her] own worth."
USA Today - Ann Oldenburg
Like one of the dazzling, meticulously tied rugs in the Iranian bazaar, The Blood of Flowers is filled with intricate designs, vivid colors and sparkling gems.
St Louis Dispatch - Charles Gershman
Amirrezvani's prose is earthy and humble, clean and consistent. While the ending does drag on for perhaps 20 pages more than it should, she is a stunning new writer with a gift for transcendent storytelling.
Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility (despite a preponderance of flowery language and schematic female bonding and male bullying) make this a winning debut.
A lavishly detailed debut, in which some of the simple values of a folktale are woven together with richer (and more modern) women-centered life lessons.
While some of the characters aren't as developed as a reader might desire...and the story doesn't always feel that it takes place 400 years ago, the main character is as complex and interesting as the patterns she weaves.
School Library Journal
Like Sheherazade, the heroine's mother is a master storyteller, telling tales within this tale that Amirrezvani tells so magically. Readers will not be able to put this book down, from the once-upon-a-time beginning to the well-crafted end.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Amellia Want to be taken away? I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I actually "listened" to the book, and was slightly concerned in the beginning. If you enjoy audio books, you might be able to understand. Sometimes you "like" the voice, and other times you "hate" the... Read More
A Short History of Ancient
Evidence of settled communities
in Iran date back to at least
the 5th millennium BC (as
evidenced by 7,000 year-old
wine jars that have been
excavated in the Zagros
Cyrus the Great is credited with
establishing the first unified
empire during his 21 year reign
beginning in 550 BCE. He is also
remembered for the
Cyrus Cylinder (discovered
in the 19th century and housed
in the British Museum) which
some consider to be the "first
charter of human rights".
However, apparently it is just
one example of a long tradition
(dating back to the third
millennium BC) in which
Mesopotamian kings began their
reigns with a declaration of
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