Flowers in the Blood

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ISBN Summary At the age of fourteen, a young woman in 17th-century Persia believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, collapsing in the field where he works with the other men from their village, there is no hope for a dowry. Alone and penniless, she and her grieving mother are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven,meant, of course, for her married life, to pay for their journey to Isfahan.

There they will work as servants for her uncle Gostaham, a rich rug designer in the court of the Shah, and be lorded over by Gostaham's wife. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant weaver of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. In few words : the blood of flowers is the complicated and passionate journey of a fiery When I talk about it ; I need three different axes : - The rug craft : The details caught by artistic bright eyes; that became mine! A final quote that presented the title by the heroine : I thought about all the labor and suffering that were hidden beneath a carpet , starting with the materials.

This novel is from the kind that I could not put down until finishing it View all 9 comments. As a contemporary piece of modern feminism, this is a terrible book.

Thankfully, it wasn't meant as such. Rather, it's a new fairy tale, one that I felt was woven as beautifully as the rugs described therein. The reader, Shohreh Aghdashloo you know, this woman makes this story magical, wonderful, intriguing, and even sensuous probably because of her dusky voice and lovely accent but also because she does a good job subtly bringing the characters to life. I highly recommend listening to this The author is Iranian-American and she says in the interview at the end that she came to the States at a young age but that she returned to Iran to visit family when she was older.

This fairy tale-like story, based only in the author's imagination and not on an older tale, blends Persian storytelling with American story-hearing, which is to say it showcases an older culture fairly different from what we're used to but that it makes sense to the American reader because of the way it is told, with the beginning that flows to the middle that flows to the end.

No, not all cultures tell their stories that way but we Americans love order so that's how we structure our tales. Anyway, it starts like a Disneyfied bit of the Arabian nights and then suddenly gets real and finally morphs into a by-the-bootstraps tale see? Appeals to American sensibilities! It's recognizable and relatable while still foreign. The treatment of women in this story is going to upset some readers. I was more grossed out by the old men and their young wives thing; that always makes me feel a bit skeeved.

I kept having to remind myself: A that this is a reflection of societal norms from another time in another culture ; B that it's a story. I'm supposed to listen, reflect, and learn, not judge hahahah! I just said that to sound smart. Stop over analyzing it and just enjoy it. And that's what I did. I enjoyed it. I liked how our intentionally nameless protagonist was an adored daughter, then a homeless waif, then a sex slave essentially then a homeless waif again, and all the while a blossoming rug-maker. I like the things she discovered about herself, about her parents, about the world.

If that sounds boring then might I recommend this to anyone interested in textiles, Persian rugs, especially. I suspect such readers will enjoy the descriptions of rug-making that weave yes, I totally did that throughout the tale. Anyone who likes storytelling within stories will enjoy this well, probably. Now I'm going to be an ass. I kept wanting this guy to show up and sweep nameless rug-maker off her feet so she could marry him and tell us how great he was at sex: Because I would totally be part of that dude's harem.

View all 7 comments. Jun 11, Dem rated it liked it. As a lover of historical fiction I was really looking forward to this novel. The Blood of Flowers is a really enjoyable novel about a young woman and only child whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. This novel details Persian rug-making, and brings to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan.

This is a powerful and haunting story about a 14 year old girls j 3. This is a powerful and haunting story about a 14 year old girls journey from her carefree childhood into adulthood and a great insight into a world unknown to most of us. I really enjoy novels that depict different cultures and customs and really found this novel interesting especially the way in which the people lived and the scenery of this country which was very well described in the novel. The author spent nine years researching and writing this book and when reading the novel you certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into this book as the author not only tells a story she educates the reader along the way.

Historical fiction by women, about women

I really enjoyed the characters and this novel has a wonderful sense of time and place which is so important to me when reading historical fiction novels. I probably would have given this book 4 stars but I found the fairytale stories within the story quite tedious and while a couple seemed to fit with the plot other just seemed pointless and for me took away from the overall enjoyment of the novel.

Having said that this is a very enjoyable and interesting read and one I will recommend to friends. I also think this would make a great book club read as there are lots of topics for discussion.


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View all 4 comments. Aug 09, Tamara Agha-Jaffar rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , books-i-ve-reviewed , middle-east-and-africa , monotheistic-religions , reading-challenge , women , mena-challenge , fiction. To adhere to a feature of traditional folk tales, the girl remains nameless. She lives in a small village with her parents, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Her happy existence comes to a screeching halt at the sudden death of her father, leaving her and her mother destitute.

Fortunately for the girl, her uncle is an accomplished rug-maker for the Shah. Without a dowry, however, her options as a woman are severely restricted. Pressured by her family, she agrees to a sigheh , a pseudo-marriage renewable every three months. This practice is nothing more than glorified prostitution under the veneer of a temporary marriage.

Flowers In The Blood

It exploits poor, vulnerable women, denying them the rights of a real marriage, and leaving them completely at the whim of their wealthy benefactor. When the girl refuses to renew the sigheh contract, she and her mother are thrown out into the streets to fend for themselves. Destitute, the girl is forced to beg.

Eventually she is able to her expertise in rug-making to lift them out of poverty. Amirrezvani has produced a gripping tale that transports the reader to seventeenth-century Persia.

The Blood of Flowers - Reading Guide - Book Club Discussion Questions

She spent several years researching material for the novel and succeeds in vividly evoking the fabric of life in Isfahan—the bazaars, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the food, the clothing, the colors, the gender stratification and exploitation of women. She peppers her narrative with short folk tales, some of which are traditional and some of which she fabricates.

A major strength of the novel lies in the detailed description of the process of rug-making. The vibrant colors and dyes; the intricate detail of each design; the work of translating the design on paper into a rug; the painstaking work of generating small, tightly bound knots to make the desired images and patterns; and the skilled artistry and craftsmanship involved in each step lead up to a breathtaking finished product that earns enthusiastic accolades from all who see it.

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The only criticism of the novel lies in the unnecessarily graphic and lurid details of the sex acts the girl performs with her benefactor to live up to the obligations of the sigheh contract. But in an interesting twist, the girl ultimately benefits from her disadvantaged position as a woman in her culture. The circumstances that led her to agree to the sigheh are the very same circumstances that help her transform her life. As a result, she becomes an independent, strong, empowered, and confident business owner who is finally in control of her own destiny.

Its immersive nature in depicting seventeenth century Persia makes this a highly recommended novel for lovers of historical fiction. Dec 24, Amanda rated it really liked it. This novel provides a fascinating look into the culture of 17th century Persia, especially from the perspective of women of all social classes. Particularly fascinating was the detailed look at the art of rugmaking and the traditional folk stories told by the narrator and the narrator's mother. I also liked that the narrator was headstrong and willful, but in a realistic way that often ended in tragedy for her.


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  6. Such a narrator made the story accessible for both a modern and a Western audience as This novel provides a fascinating look into the culture of 17th century Persia, especially from the perspective of women of all social classes.

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