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


I tasted something like rust on my tongue. Seeking my mother, I rushed into her arms and we held each other for a moment, our eyes mirrors of sorrow.

My father began to make wheezing sounds. His mouth was still slack, his lips slightly parted, and his breath rasped like dead leaves tossed by the wind. My mother rushed away from the stove, her fingers green from the herbs. She leaned over my father and cried, “Voy, my beloved! Voy!”

Kolsoom hurried over to peer at my father and then led my mother back to the stove, for there was nothing to be done. “Let us finish this medicine to help him,” said Kolsoom, whose ever-bright eyes and pomegranate cheeks testified to her powers as an herbalist.

When the herbs had been boiled and cooled, Kolsoom poured the liquid into a shallow bowl and brought it to my father’s side. While my mother raised his head, Kolsoom gently spooned the medicine into his mouth. Most of it spilled over his lips, soiling the bedroll. On the next try, she got the medicine into his mouth, but my father sputtered, choked, and for a moment appeared to stop breathing.

Kolsoom, who was usually so calm, put down the bowl with shaking hands and met my mother’s eyes. “We must wait until his eyes open before we try again,” she advised.

My mother’s head scarf was askew, but she didn’t notice. “He needs his medicine,” she said weakly, but Kolsoom told her that he needed his breath more.

Ibrahim’s voice was starting to sound hoarse, and Kolsoom asked me to attend to him. I poured some hot tea and served it to him with dates in the courtyard. He thanked me with his eyes but never stopped his reciting, as if the power of his words could keep my father alive.

On the way back into the room, I bumped against my father’s walking stick, which was hanging on a hook near the door to the courtyard. I remembered how on our last walk, he had taken me to see a carving of an ancient goddess that was hidden behind a waterfall. We had inched our way along a ledge until we found the carving under the flow of water. The goddess wore a tall crown that seemed to be filled with clouds. Her shapely bosom was covered by a thin drapery, and she wore a necklace of large stones. You could not see her feet; her clothing seemed to swirl into waves and streams. She stretched out her powerful arms, as big as any man’s, which looked as if they were conjuring the waterfall at will.

My father had been tired that day, but he had marched up the steep trails to the waterfall, panting, to show me that wondrous sight. His breath sounded even more labored now; it crackled as it left his body. His hands were beginning to move, too, like small, restless mice. They crawled up his chest and scratched at his tunic. His long fingers were brown from working in the fields, and there was a line of dirt under the nails that he would have removed before entering the house, had he been well.

“I promise to devote myself to tending to him, if only You will leave him with us,” I whispered to God. “I’ll say my prayers every day, and I will never complain about how hungry I am during the fasting month of Ramazan, even silently.”

My father began clutching at the air, as if he were fighting his illness with the only part of his body that still had vigor. Kolsoom joined us by the bedroll and led us in prayers, while we watched my father’s hands and listened to his anguished breath. I told my mother how tired he had seemed during our walk in the mountains, and asked if it had weakened him. She put her hands on either side of my face and replied, “Light of my eyes, it probably gave him strength.”

In the blackest hour of the night, my father’s breathing quieted and his hands stopped doing battle. As my mother arranged the blanket over him, her face looked calmer.

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: Treeborne
    Treeborne
    by Caleb Johnson
    The Treeborne family has lived on The Seven – the local sobriquet for a seven-acre stretch of ...
  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

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.