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The Blood Of Flowers
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A stunning and evocative first novel with the power of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN and THE ISLAND

About the Author

Anita Amirrezvani was born in Iran but has lived in the USA since she was a young child. She has visited Iran many times and has been steeped in tales of Iranian life and history from an early age. THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS is her first novel.

Reviews

This first novel by dance critic Amirrezvani is narrated by a nameless teenager whose life in 17th-century Iran is derailed by misfortune following her father's death. With no means of support, she and her mother move to the city of Isfahan to live as servants with relatives. There, despite the obstacle of gender, the young woman learns the art of carpet design. An even greater hurdle is her poverty; dowryless, she is pressured into a sigheh, or temporary marriage, in which the woman offers sexual favors in return for money. The story of the plucky narrator's rocky road toward independence is stirring and surprisingly erotic, as are the folktales narrated by her mother. The way these twin narrative strands eventually converge is especially satisfying. While some of the characters aren't as developed as a reader might desire (especially Fereydoon, the "temporary" husband) and the story doesn't always feel that it takes place 400 years ago, the main character is as complex and interesting as the patterns she weaves. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/07.]-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'Amirrezvani weaves her own experiences into the prose: giving a sense of the country.' -- Eastern Courier Messenger and City Messenger, Australia 'This is a journey of the soul from enslavement to freedom through the creation of the narrators own story. It exudes a vibrancy of colour and sensuousness but also draws vividly the squalor of poverty.' -- Adelaide Advertiser 'I've just read the most wonderful book by Anita Amirezzvani... it is fascinating, totally original and utterly gripping. It will remain one of my favourite books' -- Esther Freud, Independent on Sunday 'Sensuous and transporting...filled with the colours, tastes and fragrances of life in seventeenth-century Isfahan' -- Geraldine Brooks 'Amirrezvani... infuses her heroine with lilting eloquence' -- Washington Post 'Beautifully imagined... Simply a stunning debut' -- San Francisco Chronicle 'Lushly written, sensual' -- Australian Women's Weekly

Adult/High School-This is the tale of a 17th-century Persian village girl who makes her way with her mother to a rich uncle's house in the city of Isfahan. As poor relatives, they are treated as servants. The uncle, a master rug maker for the shah, grudgingly teaches her his trade, his love and respect for her increasing with her perseverance and obvious talent. His greedy wife convinces him to accept a three-month "marriage" contract for the girl with a rich horse trader. She learns how to please her "husband" (and herself) sexually, but also learns that he has no intention of making her his permanent wife as she has no money. She vows to make beautiful rugs on her own, and thus ensure her and her mother's financial security. She is banished from her uncle's house when she tells her friend about the marriage contract. She trusts a foreign merchant with her rug and he steals it. Now she must beg and find shelter and a way to begin a new rug. Like Sheherazade, the heroine's mother is a master storyteller, telling tales within this tale that Amirrezvani tells so magically. Readers will not be able to put this book down, from the once-upon-a-time beginning to the well-crafted end.-Ellen Bell, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In Iranian-American Amirrezvani's lushly orchestrated debut, a comet signals misfortune to the remote 17th-century Persian village where the nameless narrator lives modestly but happily with her parents, both of whom expect to see the 14-year-old married within the year. Her fascination with rug making is a pastime they indulge only for the interim, but her father's untimely death prompts the girl to travel with her mother to the city of Isfahan, where the two live as servants in the opulent home of an uncle-a wealthy rug maker to the Shah. The only marriage proposal now in the offing is a three-month renewable contract with the son of a horse trader. Teetering on poverty and shame, the girl weaves fantasies for her temporary husband's pleasure and exchanges tales with her beleaguered mother until, having mastered the art of making and selling carpets under her uncle's tutelage, she undertakes to free her mother and herself. With journalistic clarity, Amirrezvani describes how to make a carpet knot by knot, and then sell it negotiation by negotiation, guiding readers through workshops and bazaars. Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility (despite a preponderance of flowery language and schematic female bonding and male bullying) make this a winning debut. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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