M's Reviews > Veil of Roses

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald
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's review
Jul 19, 14

bookshelves: 2011, female-authors
Recommended to M by: my grandfather
Recommended for: people who believes in freedom; women
Read in March, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Veil of Roses Review

Tamila is a young, Iranian woman who lives a life separated into two main periods of time:
First, the freedom.
Tamila was a young baby in her first couple of years in the world, when her parents lived in America, or as it otherwise known as "Land of Opportunities". It seems as if she lives in a world of temporary flashback, back to her time in the USA, which she hardly remembers: Sometimes it's the present, and sometimes she sinks into those pleasant memories of her young self, accompanied by her family - mother, father and older sister - or should I say "FREE mother, father and her sister" - on their day on the beach. She enjoys the open ocean, and from this time on, the ocean becomes her symbol for independence, which she longs to when she is older.
May I say, that this period of life, although it was so short and somewhat meaningless in her whole life, it seems to be so important to her: she collects the memories and keeps a warm corner in her heart for them, since they mean so much to her. Somehow she was still connected to the identity she had in America, although she was just a baby. In America, everything has a meaning and goal in life.
the Mistake
On the other hand, the second period of Tamila's life began when her father made the biggest mistake of his life. He leaves the United States of America by mistake; he only meant to visit a family they had in Iran. But whatever happened - happened (there is an ancient Arabic saying "Ma Fat - Mat" which means "what's over - over", no looking back) and he and his family ended up staying in Iran. They moved away. I must say that this is a sudden, drastic change! Later, Tamila understands how wrong her father was coming back to Tehran, how stupid it was of him. Especially to Iran - land of irrespective and unrespectable Islam - and worse - they moved in in the middle of the big Muslim revolution by the Ayatollah Humyeini! A bad timing? You decide, but the thing is - you can't change what have already been done. You can't come back to America. You are stuck here in this illogical, freakish country and you have no way out. Well, that's right, this is exactly what I'd say to Tamila's father, although she seemed to like him a lot, not only a true respect to her great father, but a whole new Relationship I could not even imagine! Daughter -father Relationship is unacceptable in Islam, as I have learned. And this is outstanding! In a good way, though.
Leaving/ Returning
Twenty Seven years later, Tamila still lives in Iran. She is an unmarried teacher and like photographing. She quits her job, or was she fired? Her parents, who assumingly decided all the wrong decisions in her life, try to fix everything by surprising Tamila. They give her another chance: as a birthday present, they bought her a plane ticket to Turkey, and from there, to America. This is where Tamila is given the opportunity to rebuild her life side by side with her elder sister, Miriam, who lives there, married happily to Iranian-American man. Tamila understand how golden the situation is, and that maybe she will ever be able to leave to the USA again. And she, of course, accepts it and in 24 hours she manages to complete the flight to America, as she passes through three continents on her way there.
When she arrives in America, the first thing she does it to describe is Miriam, her sister.
Miriam is a symbol for everything Tami was never given in her life. Of course I refer to the one unique, blessed thing most of us see as a completely trivial thing, which is freedom. I suppose, when you live under terror for most of your live (twenty five years are a long period of time, excuse me), the idea of freedom and ability to do whatever you want (well, almost everything you want) without being watched or punished for. So, just so you will understand, it is not trivial. It is not given from birth. It is a privilege your got to earn in order to survive in our cruel world.
As the great feeling rushes through her veins, her nostrils and into her lungs, lasting to breathe every minute of freedom possible – there I understand how magical it is. How addicting it is: to be on your own, to be responsible for your own seeds, to be yourself without covering your body under a tent. (Ayyan Hirsi Ali's words, not mine).
I guess that each member of the English class Tamila goes to actually represent a different side of freedom, although some sides may not be as pleasant as it sounds. Also, each immigrant in the group represents a different side of American society. Let's start tagging them: Eva would be the fun, outgoing and 100% off- limits playboy bunny; Joseph and Agatha are, simply, love, a shy love at first that grows; Nadia is the outsider, poor woman who jose under other's wings. Nadia is the one who made a wrong decision, took the wrong turn and lost control over her life: and all of them together –lively America.
America. In this book, America is just another word for freedom. Tamila remember taking photos of little moments of freedom, some sort of tiny, daily struggle for independence. I like this point of view, it is very easy to understand and identify with.
Of course, there is Aik. Not only has a waiter who has a big dream and a guaranteed, paved road to make it come true. At first, Tamila don't understand what she feels for him. A bit of nervous, or was it just luck? Anyhow, she loved him, really loved him. And this is how she finds freedom. She was free to love and be loved. It was amazing. It was perfect.
Until she had to get marry.
Oops… getting married? I Missed that
Get ready to bite your lips until blood comes out of them!
At this point, the reader should remember Tamila's parents. They had to make sure Tamila will stay in the USA, which requires a single word: husband. Marriage in the Islamic republic really meant abusing in the blessing of the family. So, once again, there is a catch she did not really remember until her sister reminds her possibly-future-groom is waiting… This is a problem she doesn't want to face, and when she does, it seems that everything just go wrong. Tamila doesn't want it to happen and now she is terrified. All the freedom-full air is sucked out of her lungs.
Then Again, How Can I be both free and married?!
Unintentionally, during the book, Tamila finds freedom easier and easier to define, because she understands she hadn't got everything she wished for. She couldn't be completely free, because her marriage is waiting. She has no time, yet she struggle to pretend there is. Tamila tries to escape the time limitations.
Supposedly, Tamila finds herself, metaphorically of course, in front of the camera. Her camera, the camera she used all these years to document little moments of daily struggle. Now she is not the one behind the camera, to take the picture. Now she is the one who's being filmed. She has to solve this mess, she got herself into. New discoveries are on the agenda.
The name of the book is "a veil of roses". Rose was always the symbol for female, for women. To be precise, the meaning is free women. This wish the weak gender has had during centuries and centuries of male rule. They hated it, yet this was the reality and women had to define themselves once again. Define them for who they really are. Not comparing to men, as they've always been defines. Apparently, this is a difficult task they could not easily complete. This is exactly how things are today, in Tehran, Iran (not A-y-ren, but I-r-an). So cruel and beyond understanding: Islam has taken over.
Women are afraid. And then, Tamila finds out of another world, another planet: America. Where nobody is studying her, looking for problems and won't let go. Nobody does it. And it makes her happy. Beautiful, poetic, melodic. Eva helps her understand her power as women, but in another light: unlike Muslims in Iran, power of women is good, it's blessed, and Eva is the prove for that. She is not only extremely rude and sex addict, she is also a influential person, person Tamila should learn from. Of course, only the good stuff. However, Tamila struggle to define herself as a woman wearing a veil of roses, not a veil of chauvinistic, unrespectable Islam. Finally, she understands how much she learnt from being in America, a whole new side of life she didn't know.
For once, her parents made the right decision.
I would like to compare this book to Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita In Tehran". Although I have never finished this book, paradoxically, I think there's a point to compare the feelings in both novels. If you'd look very closely you would find out that the feeling is very familiar. Tamila and Nafisi are extraordinary women who live in other sides of the world, but have the same say and legacy, which is perfectly feministic.
Both of the book describe brave women's struggle to get whatever they wants, whatever it is that they want. A quote from "Reading Lolita in Tehran":
"Like Lolita We tried to create for ourselves in little pockets of freedom. "
During those troubled and tempestuous days of Islam against freedom of expression, against liberalism and against the world and the West – A few hours after the attack took place in Sharm difficult by the Al Ida, who committed a murderous act against tourism in the Sinai Claiming the attack was against the tourists who bring the burglaries, sexual freedom, the permissiveness. Nafisi's book is a valuable document since it first-hand testimony about the company emerged from murderous cult that threatens the world today. call you on the academic and social life in Islamic society perceptions Tehran is a unique opportunity that can teach a lot about the customs, the culture and mind-locked to us.
Well, I guess this book is really great. I really appreciated it, and I think you would, too. Freedom-like and absolutely loosing... ENJOY
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Quotes M Liked

Laura Fitzgerald
“Given enough time and distance, the heart will always heal.”
Laura Fitzgerald, Veil of Roses

Laura Fitzgerald
“Freedom, I am beginning to realize, means not even being aware you're free.”
Laura Fitzgerald, Veil of Roses

Laura Fitzgerald
“When fun is forbidden, it is all the more treasured.”
Laura Fitzgerald, Veil of Roses

Laura Fitzgerald
“Courteous people learn courtesy from the discourteous”
Laura Fitzgerald, Veil of Roses
tags: wisdom

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