review: the blood of flowers

30 July 2012

book info:
ages: 14 and up
grades: 9 and up (Years 10 and up)
on sale: now
copy from: library
publisher: Little, Brown and Company
pages: 369 (big pages)

title: The Blood of Flowers
author: Anita Amirrezvani
photo credit: goodreads

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. 



When I first started reading this, it seemed like any other story. A village girl with a loving father and mother suddenly face conflict, and travel to the city to seek their fortunes. As I started actually getting into the story, it was interesting to me, and the talk of rug-making and it's processes, the descriptions of colours and their marvellous beauty captivated me. And like I had read in The Caliph's House (my substantial introduction into Arabian culture), storytelling and stories themselves remain a vibrant and rich part of the culture. Ms Amirrezvani wrote several of those stories throughout the book, which I enjoyed so much. These folk stories are always brilliantly written, and I'm starting to view them like a carpet. Rich, beautiful, and artfully woven. I've read many books, and I think they've become favourites, on Iran, Afghanistan and Persia. I find stories of this background to be moving and deep and thoughtful. If you're a historical fiction buff, I'd definitely look for these themes!

The start may be slow, and the middle may seem pointless, but once I had reached the ending, everything made sense. I remembered how young the nameless girl (woman) had been, and saw how she developed over time and experience. It's one of those books that occur over a life-time.

The main character is never named, which I think is a feat considering it's near four hundred pages. It's strange, but also makes me think: are names really important? She developed into such an amazing person, yet goes without a name. Strange. I like her character because she's strong, and when faced with tremendous pressure, she doesn't give in. She respects her parents, and discovers herself along that path. I relate to her in the sense of her struggle with duty for her family (which is really just her mum) and what's best for her: it's a predicament I'm stuck in. So maybe that makes me biased into liking her?

Yet something about her character isn't complete. I think I would've liked for to have fallen in love, to have gone on more thrilling adventures or to have her do...something other than struggle and make carpet! I think her role of a carpet-maker could have been better, she could have gone father with that plot.

The other characters played out just like their roles as supporting characters should. The way women acted, the roles of men, in this time period is really effectively portrayed. In fact, it's still quite common. The heart of Persia still thrives. My mum would tell me "There are some women who sit around and drink and gossip all day. They have nothing better to do" and of course, there's the nagging, spiteful woman that though cliche, appears in real life often. Ms Amirrezvani captures that essence well.

This is written, I think, like a young adult book with adult aspects like sex (there are a few of these) But it works well for the type of book this is. There's nothing else other than that that's suggestive, except for some crude comments from a butcher. If you're a mature teenager, then this may be for you.

This book reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha, except Arabian style with a carpet-maker instead of a geisha (artist/dancer, charmer) If you've read and enjoyed it, then Blood of Flowers is a great story to go along with it.

This was a plain book in some aspects, yet also very rich with culture and story and struggle. I don't know where to stand, but I think, due to my Arabian Story fever, I'll give this one four trees.

1 thoughts:

  1. Very nice post! You make this sound like a really interesting read, and I probably would have never known about the book, otherwise. Just might add this to my reading list. :)

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