Isolated and far from his native Iran, Ushman Khan has
worked hard to build a wealthy, reliable clientele for his
wares: exquisite hand-woven rugs from his home city of
With perfect rectitude, he caters to clients like
New Yorks Upper East Side grand dame Mrs. Roberts, who
plies him for stories about his exotic origins and culture
to feed her own imagination. But like many immigrants, hes
living only half a life. He dreams of the day his beloved
wife, Farak, will be able to join him in New York and
complete his vision of the American dream. But when she
tells him that she is leaving him for another man, Ushman is
shattered. He begins to wander aimlessly through the
terminals of JFK Airport, imagining a now-impossible reunion
Unexpectedly, he meets Stella, a Barnard College
student who has just bade farewell to her parents en route
for an Italian vacation. After Stella, isolated in her own
way, finds herself at Ushmans Manhattan store, they embark
on an improbable and powerful romance. Together this
American girl from the Deep South and the Iranian aesthete
form a tender bond that awakens them both to the possibility
of joy in a world full of tragedy.
At first glance a romance between an Iranian immigrant and an American college student almost half his age might lead the reader to expect shades of Lolita - but that is far from the case. What Mullins offers in her low key first novel is a lovely, melancholy story about shaking free from disappointment and finding connection and acceptance in whatever form they appear. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
This melancholy novel droops under the weight of a sympathetic but tentative, passive protagonist who can find no real solution to his profound alienation.
Booklist - Deborah Donovan
Ushman lingers in the reader's mind--a wounded soul, comfortable in his "routine of solitary misery," who is able to transcend sorrow, however fleetingly.
Library Journal - Kellie Gillespie
Quiet and unassuming, this debut is as rich as the hand-woven rugs Ushman sells, with colorful descriptions and complex characters that provide a rewarding study in contrasts between the joy of love and the pain of vulnerability.
Rene Steinke, author of Holy Skirts, finalist for the 2005 National Book Award in fiction The Rug Merchant is a moving, intelligent portrait of the immigrant Ushman's double life, and the absorbing story of a love affair brimming with surprises. Mullins' writing is incisive and emotionally acute---a beautiful debut.
Aurelie Sheehan,author of The Anxiety of Everyday Objects and History Lessons For Girls
Meg Mullins has written a moving, crystalline tale of love, reminiscent of E.M. Forster. Her prose is precise, nuanced, and vivid. I was enchanted and intrigued with this tale from the beginning, and found myself pondering its intricacies long after I'd put the book down.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by tabby's mom Worth reading This is a lovely story. It's very readable and the characters are well developed. Anyone who has felt isolated will understand the main character's pain. There is a subtle humour threaded throughout the work.
Rated of 5
by Robin good story, okay book. This book was a great story with well thought out issues and complex emotions. It was a great story but a poor book. What I mean by this is that the story was intriguing, but the stylistics and quality of the literature were minimal in quality.
Meg Mullins was born and raised
in New Mexico, where she now lives with
her husband and their two children. The
story that formed the basis of The
Rug Merchant appeared in The Best
American Short Stories 2002.
About Tabriz Ushman is from
Tabriz, which is the capital of the
Iranian province of Eastern Azarbaaijaan.
it looks like a beautiful place - mild
summers make it a popular summer
vacation spot for those escaping the
heat of the south, and it's a popular
winter sports destination due to the
proximity of snow filled mountains. It
is, of course, also famous for its
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