Anahita's Woven Riddle
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Anahita's Woven Riddle

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  745 ratings  ·  164 reviews
A critically acclaimed novel, available in paperback for the first time

One of YALSA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults

In this enchanting historical novel, a nomad in nineteenth-century Iran takes fate into her own hands when her father promises her in marriage to a man she dislikes. Anahita convinces her father to let her hold a contest in which potential suitors must c...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Harry N. Abrams (first published November 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Amphy
Mar 15, 2009 Amphy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I found this book intriguing from the moment I spotted it hiding on the shelves of the public library. It became one of 26-ish books I checked out (beat that, you amateurs!), and I devoured it as I curled on on my couch.

The basic plot is that a beautiful maiden named Anahita in long-ago Iran is promised to the khan of the village, a man odious to Anahita. Anahita fights for her freedom, but in vain. Then she devises a contest- whoever can solve the riddle she weaves into her wedding qali, or car...more
J.Elle
I was really disappointed when I finished this book because I expected something much better from it. It was really quite good you see. Anahita has been raised to understand that she would have an arranged marriage. She shocks everyone when she asks for, and is granted, the opportunity to have a contest for her hand. She decides to weave a riddle into her bridal rug and whichever man answers the riddle, she will consent to marry. Enter the three most likely candidates: 1. the friend of the famil...more
Joelle
This book made me taste the flavors, see the colors, smell the spices, hear the sounds, and feel the fabrics. It employed each of my 5 senses. I felt like I was really in 19th century Iran, and it made me kind of want to be a Nomad. I was totally on Anahita's side when it came to absolutely NOT marrying the Khan, he was so gross! I was so glad she got with the guy she did, I had been rooting for him the whole time.
Some things I didn't like was the way her people ignored her for the things the...more
Misty
I am not going to lie, I fell in love with the cover Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres and that was a big reason I had to read it. I am glad I did. The book takes place in Iran (Persia) around 100 yrs ago, and centers around a young carpet-weaving nomad, Anahita. When her father tells her that it is time for her to marry, and that the local khan (a boorish, crude man who holds the villages fate in his hands) is interested in her, riddle-loving Anahita comes up with a plan to weave a riddle into her wedding carpet, and marry onl...more
Stacy
Anahita is a beautiful young woman in Persia-Iran. The powerful khan from their tribe wants to marry her. He however is basically a loser (how's that for a review!) he is much older, and he repulses her. Anahita is a girl that stands out in her culture with her feministic views---like: women should have the right to choose who they marry (go figure!) She wants to marry someone who appreciates her love for riddles. So she poses an alternative and gets her father to agree. Her family members are c...more
Phoebe
Jul 15, 2013 Phoebe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karen, Deborah, Valerie
Atmospherically set in the middle eastern desert, in the 1880s, with as strong a heroine as one could imagine in the personage of Anahita, a lovely girl on the brink of marriage. Her extraordinary abilities as a weaver make her want more than to be someone's wife, however; her strongest wish is to apprentice to her granduncle, the village dyemaster. Since she must marry, however, and knows her father has all but promised her to the khan (chieftain of their tribe), she dares to take matters into...more
Rachel
First off, this book is not 288pgs but 338, plus glossary/author's note/further reading etc which equals out to 352. Aside from that, I loved the book! It was so engaging, I had to finish it in three days despite the large amount of work I have to do for my summer graduate class. The main character, Anahita is a 17 yr old girl living in 1885 in Iran. Her family is nomadic and they all create beautiful rugs for a living. One day her father, the local chief of the village, says she must marry by t...more
Jamio
One more book for young girls about a similarly young girl growing up with modern ideas in a conservative culture spunking herself out of an arranged marriage, this time by declaring unilaterally that she will marry only the man who can solve the riddle she will weave into her dowry rug.

If there was anything interesting about Anahita besides the arranged marriage and the lengths she goes to get out of it, this would be exactly the kind of book that I like, but there isn't. There could be. All t...more
Shoujo85
Rating: I liked it… but wanted to like it more (3.5 stars)

While I sympathise with Anahita and her desire to avoid an arranged marriage and have the opportunity to choose her husband, I think her father says it very well when he says what he doesn’t like about her is her khod pasand, her self-absorption.

The book is very much about Anahita, and she is very self-absorbed. And although it’s understandable that she wants more from her life, wants choices, wants to learn, wants things to stay as they...more
★ ßurçακ ★
Kitabın keşke orjinal adını kullansalarmış daha uygun olurmuş.. "Anahita'nın dokunmuş bilmecesi".. Ama cidden masal tadındaydı da pek aşk masalı değildi.. Daha çok göçerlerin yaşam tarzı yansıtılmış.. Yün boyama, kök boyası, halı dokuma teknikleri ayrıntılı anlatılmış.. Konuya pek girmeyeceğim tanıtım yazısının aynısı ama kültür benim çok hoşuma gitti..

Beğenmediğim nokta ise kız başta evlenmeyeceğim diyor.. Sonra aşık olmadan bunlarla evlenebilirim diyor. Bikaç detay daha vardı rahatsız eden ama...more
Jenna
May 18, 2008 Jenna rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older elementary or young middle school girls who like romance
Recommended to Jenna by: Ms. Natale
I'm sorry-- it was pretty lame. It was written at a level for older elementary school girls, but the topic (romance) is not a good book topic for kids that young. Therefore, it's hard for them to read because it's uninteresting, and hard for us to read because the style is painfully amateur. Maybe someone who is more into the business of "true love and the pursuit of yar" would like it more, but I was not a fan.
Ksenia
The beauty of the book wasn't finding out who would win Anahita's wedding riddle contest. The beauty was just in the details of the characters, the places, and even the carpets. Oh, how I wish there were pictures of the carpets. This was definitely one of those "quiet" books that I truly enjoyed. Thanks to Misty for sending this to me. I think this got me out of my recent reading funk.
Deeva
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathalie
I loved this book! Although it is geared for "young adults," I found it quite enjoyable. As a knitter, I appreciated the references to dyeing yarn, spinning, knitting, and weaving. I also loved learning about the nomadic tribes that exist in Iran. This was a coming of age novel that was a joy to read.
Annwynbeneaththewaves
As a 13 year old my attention span wasn't that great and I would like to re-red it again but for now it is a DNF for me
Shannon
School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Teenager Anahita, a nomad living in early-20th-century Persia, has been promised to the khan, or chief, of her tribe. This man, whose three previous wives have mysteriously died, is considerably older than she is, and she wants nothing to do with him. She convinces her father to let her choose her own husband by having potential mates solve a riddle that she has woven into her wedding carpet. Doing so goes against Muslim principles and causes controversy within t...more
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here.

I can't even remember how Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres ended up on my radar. I remember why I was interested though. It has the sound of a fairy tale type plot where a girl chooses a suitor based on his ability to answer a riddle she weaves into cloth, but is straight up historical fiction. Historical fiction set in late 19th century Iran.

Anahita is indeed an extraordinary girl, one who dreams of a life where she chooses her own destiny. She would be con...more
Sarah
Can you tell I've been a reading fool lately? That's what happens when your daughter is hospitalized for pneumonia and strep and then contracts the stomach flu later in the week. I've been home A LOT and have mostly been hanging out on the couch with my girl. So while she's watching Good Luck, Charlie, I'm reading!

I know this book received a lot of press when it was published back in 2006, and I can see why. I'm a sucker for historical fiction set in other countries, and fell right into Anahita'...more
Lady Knight
Jul 13, 2010 Lady Knight rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teen girls who love romantic stories
This was a decent teen love story. While there is plenty of great cultural details, the story is really short on plot development. However most of the characters have a decent amount of depth, and Anahita in particular experiences a lot growth.

Anahita is part of a nomadic tribe in 19th c. Iran, and with her eighteenth birthday approaching, she is expected to marry. Her local Khan makes her father an offer for her hand, but Anahita is horrified. She doesn't want to become his fourth wife and refu...more
Rose S-H
I really wanted this book to be better than it was. In the beginning I liked it, but a lot of little things kept irritating me as I went on and in the end, they really diminished my enjoyment of the book.

Fist of all, the dialogue is awful. Barely any of it sounds like things people would actually say in real life. Some of it is poetic, but mostly it's just wooden and awkward sounding.

The characters were fine. They fit quite easily into easy to recognize stereotypes, but none of them were annoyin...more
Sylvia McIvers


Anahita is a busy, busy, busy. She helps the dye-master find plants for vibrant dyes, helps her mother weave the Persian carpets that Iran is famous for, and helps her father tend the sheep which her tribe herds from place to place in the spring, finding the best grass to graze on. She also works hard for the success of a clothing drive she originated at the local mosque, so poorer people don’t have to buy cloth or weave every single garment for every family member. Somehow, she also finds time...more
Cleo
Set in Iran or Persia, Anahita’s Woven Riddle tells of a girl named Anahita who, when she learns of her father’s decision to marry her to the despicable khan, decides to hold a contest to see who can guess the riddle woven into her wedding quilt. I had read this book a few years ago, and was happy to see that it was published by Abram’s, so I picked up my own copy when I visited them in New York. Anyway, Anahita’s riddle contest draws many suitors from all parts of Iran. Meanwhile, the khan is f...more
Vicki
Feb 08, 2008 Vicki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle school - especially girls
Anahita's story takes place in nomadic Iran at the end of the 19th century. She is a teenage who is old enough to be married, and young enough not to be too thrilled about it. She is a very beautiful young girl and has caught the eye of the Khan - a man older than her father - and not desirable on any level except for wealth. She is deeply loved by her father, mother and grandmother, and pleads with them not to force her to marry a man she does not love. She devises a plan whereby she will weav...more
Briana
Anahita’s Woven Riddle is a story constructed as skillfully and beautifully as Anahita’s wedding carpet. On one level, it is a romance set in an exotic location (Iran) that will appeal to readers with its excitement and realism. Sayres obviously knows and loves the land about which she writes, and her passion translates to the pages in vivid descriptions that allow readers to form lucid mental pictures. And she has populated the land with diverse characters and diverse suitors that keep the audi...more
Esther
Elegant in physical design as well as story-telling, Anahita's Woven Riddle is as beautifully crafted as the rich carpets Sayres describes. Before we even start to read, the fonts and carpeted pages tug us back in time, to which mystical era, we are not yet sure. Later, Sayres offers us the full-bodied flavor of early Iran in her details. We touch the potent spices used for wool dyeing on markets and hillsides. We are introduced to sheep, camels, and the daily rhythm of a migratory camp. Most...more
Llamalover
This is more 3.5 stars. Anahita is kind of a brat, and she knows it. Yes, the khan is horrible and hes lost three wives, but their tribe paid for her refusal to marry him. She was very stubborn. And then a whole contest to win her hand? I liked the variety of her suitors, the khan, Arash:the prince, Reza:the teacher, and Dariyoush:the childhood friend. I noticed right away who would win her hand. Reza wasn't really touched upon often. His few POV's talked of him being charmed by her and Anahita...more
Allison Parker
Anahita is horrified when her father tells her that the khan, the political figure who represents their nomadic tribe in Iran's capital, wants to marry her. The khan is much older than Anahita; he's peculiar, rough, and his previous three wives have all mysteriously died. Anahita would prefer not to marry at all, but if she had to, she would choose a man who matched her wit, her appreciation for the beauty of nature, and most of all, her love of riddles. Anahita makes a bold suggestion to her pa...more
Emily
I found this book on a list of YA set outside the US on a handout from the Portland Public Library. I needed a book from the Middle East for my geography challenge. And I loved it.

It's set in Persia, in what is modern-day Iran. Anahita is part of a semi-nomadic tribe, and is told it is time for her to marry. She wants some say in who she has to marry, so she convinces her father and the spiritual leader of the tribe to let her weave a riddle into the wedding carpet she weaves, and she agrees to...more
Dracolibris
This book gave me a character to love, and a new insight into a culture I know next to nothing about. It is the tale of a young Persian girl living in the Iran of 100 years ago named Anahita, whose father asks her to consider the fact that it is time for her to get married. But Anahita does not want to be married to the man who has offered his interest- the local khan. He is old, selfish, and has already lost three previous wives to mystery causes. She wants to continue with her artistic rug wea...more
Soumyaj
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a tapestry weaver and author living in Eastern Washington. Her books include a novel set in 19th century Iran, Anahita's Woven Riddle, an ALA Top Ten Best Books 2007 and a BookSense/Indie Pick 2007; Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland; and co-author of Daughters of the Desert: Tales of Remarkable Women From the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions.

Meghan has visited scho...more
More about Meghan Nuttall Sayres...
Night Letter Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland: Taipeis Gael, Donegal Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran The Shape Of Betts Meadow: A Wetlands Story Daughters of the Desert: Stories of Remarkable Women from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Traditions

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“It is in the vision of the physical eyes
That no invisible or secret thing exists.
But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such Light?”
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“I think that sometimes our souls must tell us they are having a hard time trying to keep up with all of our worldly festivities and plans. Quiet moments, such as when we weave, or in times of sleep, are when we hear what our inner selves have to say.” 1 likes
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