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The Blood of Flowers

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  10,060 ratings  ·  1,311 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 457 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2007)
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Lisa Vegan
Aug 20, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys novels, historical fiction novels
I will never again look at Persian/Iranian carpets in the same way. This book makes me want to view many examples of such carpets so that I can now fully appreciate their artistry.

This is a finely crafted first novel and I really hope that this author writes more novels. I love her writing style and storytelling.

I was completely immersed in the story, characters, and the time & place of this book. I loved the stories within the story, the depiction of a particular woman’s life and a look int
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3 1/2 stars

This story takes place in the 1620s in Isfahan, Persia (Iran). After her father's death, a teenage girl (never named) and her mother travel from their small village to Isfahan to live with a relative. They are mostly treated like household slaves/servants, but the girl manages to gain skills in rug design from her uncle, a prominent rugmaker.

I liked the story, but far too much of the book was taken up with the narrator's sigheh (a temporary, renewable "marriage" which is essentially
Nile daughter
Apr 10, 2011 Nile daughter rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nile daughter by: Huda
Shelves: favorites, iran
This is my second novel about Iran , the first was (Samarkand) , both are historical , but while (Samarkand ) took political & ideological path , this one dealt with one of the Persian art formats and the cultural and social conditions that surrounded its uniqueness and perfection .and in the same time with a feminine feelings and sprit ..

In few words : (the blood of flowers) is the complicated and passionate journey of a fiery ... talented female carpet designer towards maturity and profes
The story was interesting, but I was disappointed overall. I had high expectations of language and wordplay, and it really felt like a highly-sexed YA style--little sophistication. The protagonist annoyed the crap out of me, and thus made it hard for me to feel any sympathy for her plight. The information about the making of rugs was great, though, and reading about the colors and knots almost makes this a three starred books. My favorite parts of the books were the fairy tales interjected, and ...more
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 subtlely bringing the characters to life. I highly recommend listening to this..
3.5 stars

The Blood of flowers is a historical fiction novel and a love story, which is set in 17th century Iran. 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
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. Such a narrator made the story accessible for both a modern and a Western audience as ...more
Anita Amirrezvani has in this novel of historical fiction told of life during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great of Persia. It is thoroughly engaging. It accomplishes what the best historical fiction can do; enveloping the readers in a foreign time and place, teaching about a culture, not just the dry facts, but rather how life would be there and then. You forget you are leaning and instead absorb the culture through the lives of people you encounter in the story.

Shah Abbas (reign from 1571-1629
It is a very hypnotic tale. I was really absorbed into the story-line and I felt I had time-traveled to the 17th-century Persian myself. I really adore the courage of the unnamed main character who still manage to move on after each of the misfortunes that had befallen her. This story also shows how a girl matures into a women and how her dreams evolve with time. I also got the inside into the culture of Shia muslim, which I had never know. I love how the narrator is so passionate about carpet m ...more
By Anita Amirrezvani
(Headline Review)

SET in 17th century Iran, this novel tells the tale of a young village girl who has her destiny shattered after a comet blazing across the sky is seen as a bad sign.

Her family is about to arrange her marriage but the comet spells disaster. And after the death of her father, her hopes of marriage are dashed.

The nameless heroine and her mother go in search of her uncle, Gostaham, in the city of Isfahan. There, they are taken in as servants b
The Blood of Flowers is the story of a young girl (never named) in 17C Persia whose father dies unexpectedly and left destitute. She and her mother are forced to seek shelter from her uncle, a wealthy rug maker in the city of Isfahan. Despite their status in the household as nothing better than servants the girl shows a talent for rug making and design and with no male heir of his own to succeed in his craft her uncle takes the girl under his tutelage. Enough of the reviews recap the story suffi ...more
The descriptions of rug-making are interesting, such an involved and laborious process for this art. The story itself...also interesting but the characters were flat as paper. Occasionally they would be creased and folded into revealing some facet of personality but still in a disjointed way.

Life for women sucked back in those days!
Dec 14, 2012 Kata rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kata by: John
This book pulled me across the ocean and back in time to 17th century Persia. A young woman, after the loss of her father, travels with her mother from a small village to Isfahan. There they live with the young woman's uncle. Upon their arrival it is made clear to them that they will be servants in the household.

In Isfahan, the young girl's fate becomes worse than that which she may have had in her small village. The young girl, who I believe remains nameless (Aziz?), is a talented artist and w
I enjoyed reading about Iran in the 1620's. The author did a very good job of painting a picture of what life was like, and I could almost see Ishafan. For me the most interesting aspect of the novel was learning so much about the making of persian carpets. The only reason why The Blood of Flowers didn't get a higher rating was that I never connected emotionally with any of the characters.

The Story: Anticipating an arranged marriage only to discover that her father has passed away without leavin
an enthralling read, especially so because I just love reading about other times, other cultures and how women used to fare....
this is the story of a female rug maker of Iran set in the 17th century (though the book never mentions the time period, I came to know through other reviews I read about the book). We are taken through her aspirations and tribulations and journey from childhood to early womanhood. One word of caution, though: at one stage in the book, there is a lot of adult content inv
Jan 17, 2010 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in learning about other cultures
A truly inspirational story about a woman forced into impossible choices and situations. A very different story than what I usually read, but I could not help but get entranced by its lyrical language intertwined with persian stories/fables.
Under the surface, it beckoned the reader to look into what freedom means especially as a woman and asks the reader to consider what one would do or rather endure for one's family or for money/survival.
A beautifully rich and textured story of a young girl in 17th Century Persia. This poor girl goes through many trials but stays true to her conscience and beliefs.
I really enjoyed the fables and tales interwoven in the story.
No matter what society or culture one is born into, there are always those who are privileged and those who suffer. The privileged do suffer the vagaries of human existence and emotions, but those who suffer through misfortune that has no rational explanation often have to scrape and scrimp for their very existence, in addition to enduring the worst treatment possible at the hands of others.

This is a story about many diverse situations that most people experience at some point in their lives, a
A GR friend complained of the central character's misjudgments. I never forgot that she was 16-17 when she was making the decisions described. This is an age when many people make mistakes due to inexperience and lack of knowledge about how the world works. I think that what seems to be common sense to older people is actually wisdom acquired through the process of maturation.

I also think that the largest mistake that impacted the main character's life wasn't hers at all. It's due to a cross-cul
Steve Lindahl
The Blood of Flowers is a historical novel set in 17th century Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great. It's the story of a young woman who spends her first years in a small village, then, after the death of her father, moves to Isfahan, a large center of commerce. The culture and economy is male dominated, so when the narrator loses her father, she and her mother have to depend on the good will of an uncle, who is a carpet maker for the Shah. (The uncle's wife isn't thrilled with the extr ...more
I found this one when searching for a book to fit a challenge task requiring a historical fiction set in a Middle Eastern country other than Egypt. This one is set in 17th century Persia/Iran and sounded interesting so I went with it. And I am so glad that I found it. I learned so much about the tradition, the culture, the country, the religious practices, etc. all told through an intriguing story of a young girl.

Born in a rural setting, she and her mother must travel to Isfahan, the largest cit
In a word, this novel is rich! I felt infused with colour, aroma, passion and flavour.

The intention of the author was to give her readers a feeling of what life was like in Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great in the 17th century. Also woven into the story was the history of Persian rug making.

Another historical part of the novel was the inclusion of some traditional folk tales. The first and last folk tale were created by the author, but the others were traditional stories. They all
Jul 26, 2008 Simmonsmry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Simmonsmry by: I reviewed this stunning debut novel for
In the blink of an eye, everything can change. One tragic event can send lives spiralling down a staircase full of unknowns.

In her debut novel, Anita Amirrezvani explores this theory through the eyes of a young Iranian woman living in the 17th century. At the age of 14, the unnamed narrator is looking forward to a new chapter in her life. She is expecting to be married before the year is out and her only troubles come from worrying about how her family will raise a sufficient dowry to offer a s
Beautiful. The descriptions of food, clothing, rug-weaving, social customs....all a sumptuous feast. Brings early 17th century Persia to life through the voice of a young girl and her difficult and redemptive journey.

Paired nicely with the August 2008 National Geographic cover story!

Note: I wondered throughout why the author chose to use 'Iran' instead of addition to geographic variances throughout history, I thought that (in general) 'Iran' i
My biggest problem with the book is that it had an incredibly weak ending. The story is more or less a pauper's tale, a young girl's life is filled with lamentable woe and bad luck after bad luck. The main character, an unnamed young girl, has skills as a carpet maker which was the only part of the book I could stand. The details that went into making a carpet were very labor intensive and the only thing of interest.

The main character's plight was more annoying that sympathy inducing. She was ne
Jo Ann
I believe this maybe the first novel I've ever read where the protagonist is not given a name, at the end of the audio book was an interview with the author and she explains why she did it and I totally agree with her reasoning.

Our story follows a young girl born in 17th century Persia (Iran) who's father has died. Broke and penniless, her and her mother are forced to move in with relatives to survive. Longing to escape her world of poverty she cultivates her gift of Persian Carpet weaving in ho
Crystal Allen
This book was beautiful and would make a fabulous book club choice.

This book reminded me a bit of The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracey Chevalier.

Set in Persia, a young girl is left without a dowry when her father dies. The girl and her mother get through the first few months only because the girl has knotted a carpet that her parents had planned to sell to pay for her dowry. Instead that money is used to feed them and pay for their journey from the small village they live in to the city where her
Alia Yunis
Another book I picked up because I enjoyed talking with the author so much when I met her at the Dubai Festival of Books. I thought that I would read a few pages of it over a month or so but found myself two days later staying up half the night to finish it as I was so enthralled with the story and the main character’s will to survive, saved and damned by her wisdom and naivite along the way. But most of all, I like how the writer surprised me by avoiding the clichés of melodrama—characters don’ ...more
The themes of the book (as a tag-type summary) for me were family, friendship, love, hardship, forgiveness, being different.

I loved the way traditional folk tales were told through the story, and the way they had echoes of both the story and its themes and the traditional tales I grew up with. I thought this was beautifully written (the description in this books was one of my favourite things about it) and I think the contrast between the rich and poor lives in the story was made obvious through
Rebecca Huston
A moderately good, but not great, historical novel set in 17th century Persia. The narrator (who is never named) is just fifteen when the story starts, her hands clever at making rugs, and struggling to learn how to dye and design them. But when her father dies, she goes to the city of Isfahan with her mother to the home of a distant relation. There life turns out to be nothing what she expected. I found the details on making rugs and the little details of life in Persia of the time, but the cha ...more
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Anita Amirrezvani is the author of the forthcoming novel Equal of the Sun, which was published by Scribner in June, 2012. Her first novel, The Blood of Flowers, has appeared in more than 25 languages and was long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction. She teaches at the California College of the Arts and at Sonoma State University.

More about Anita Amirrezvani...
Equal of the Sun Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers

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“Be like the date that grows sweeter and sweeter , even though the soil that nourishes it is rocky and harsh” 23 likes
“First there wasn't, then there was. Before God no one was.” 13 likes
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