Excerpt from The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Blood of Flowers

A Novel

by Anita Amirrezvani

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani X
The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The front bearers got out of step for a moment, and they almost lost hold of the man. His head lolled as though it were barely attached to his body, and his limbs had no life in them. I dropped the clay vessel, which shattered around my feet.

“Bibi,” I whimpered. “Help!”

My mother came outside, brushing flour from her clothes. When she saw my father, she uttered a piercing wail. Women who lived nearby streamed out of their houses and surrounded her like a net while she tore the air with her sorrow. As she writhed and jumped, they caught her gently, holding her and stroking the hair away from her face.

The men brought my father inside and laid him on a bedroll. His skin was a sickly yellow color, and a line of saliva slid out of the corner of his mouth. My mother put her fingers near his nostrils.

“Praise be to God, he’s still breathing!” she said.

Naghee, who worked with my father in the fields, didn’t know where to look as he told us what had happened. “He seemed tired, but he was fine until this afternoon,” he said. “Suddenly he grabbed his head and fell to the ground, gasping for air. After that, he didn’t stir.”

“May God spare your husband!” said a man I didn’t recognize. When they had done all they could to make him comfortable, they left, murmuring prayers for good health.

My mother’s brow was furrowed as she removed my father’s cotton shoes, straightened his tunic, and arranged the pillow under his head. She felt his hands and forehead and declared his temperature normal, but told me to fetch a blanket and cover him to keep him warm.

The news about my father spread quickly, and our friends began arriving to help. Kolsoom brought the water she had collected from a spring near a saint’s shrine that was known for its healing powers. Ibrahim took up a position in the courtyard and began reciting the Qur’an. Goli came by, her boy asleep in her arms, with hot bread and stewed lentils. I brewed tea to keep the warmth in everyone’s body. I knelt near my father and watched his face, praying for a flutter of his eyelids, even a grimace—anything that would assure me life remained in his body.

Rabi’i, the village physician, arrived after night had fallen with cloth bags full of herbs slung on each shoulder. He laid them near the door and knelt to examine my father by the light of the oil lamp, which flickered brokenly. His eyes narrowed as he peered closely at my father’s face. “I need more light,” he said.

I borrowed two oil lamps from neighbors and placed them near the bedroll. The physician lifted my father’s head and carefully unwound his white turban. His head looked heavy and swollen. In the light, his face was the color of ash, and his thick hair, which was flecked with gray, looked stiff and ashen, too.

Rabi’i touched my father’s wrists and neck, and when he did not find what he was looking for, he laid his ear against my father’s chest. At that moment, Kolsoom asked my mother in a whisper if she would like more tea. The physician lifted his head and asked everyone to be silent, and after listening again, he arose with a grave face and announced, “His heart beats, but only faintly.”

“Ali, prince among men, give strength to my husband!” my mother cried.

Rabi’i collected his bags and removed bunches of herbs, explaining to Kolsoom how to brew them into a heart-enlivening medicine. He also promised to return the next morning to check on my father. “May God rain His blessings on you!” he said as he took his leave. Kolsoom began stripping the herbs off their stalks and throwing them into a pot, adding the water my mother had boiled.

As Rabi’i left, he stopped to talk with Ibrahim, who was still in the courtyard. “Don’t halt your praying,” he warned, and then I heard him whisper the words “God may gather him tonight.”

Copyright © 2007 by Anita Amirrezvani

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...
  • Book Jacket: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    by Hank Green
    As one half of the extremely popular YouTube duo "Vlogbrothers" (the other half being his brother ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for Eden
    Waiting for Eden
    by Elliot Ackerman
    Elliot Ackerman's latest novel, Waiting for Eden, follows Marine Eden Malcom as his death ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim

    Two sisters grow up bound by family but separated by war; inspired by a true story.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.