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The Blood of Flowers

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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  16,830 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews
In the fabled city of Isfahan, in seventeenth-century Persia, a young woman confronts a dismal fate: Her beloved father had died and left her without a dowry. Forced to work as a servant in the home of her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the Shah, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a ha ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Little Brown and Company
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Kate The author has written another book called Equal of the Sun, set during the reign of Shah Tahmasp. I enjoyed it a lot!

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  16,830 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews


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jessica
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
need to buy: a persian carpet.

after reading just how much work and thought and meaning goes behind creating one, my house feels empty without one.

and just like a carpet is woven together with multiple strands, so too is this story. its a coming-of-age tale intertwined with historical richness, family life, ancient culture, romance, and female empowerment.

even though the atmosphere is what i loved most about this book (i was instantly transported to isfahan), i do think the characters and plot ar
...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 into th
...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
...more
Jen
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Niledaughter
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Niledaughter 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 profession
...more
Dem
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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
...more
Erica
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...u
...more
Chrissie
Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers is a skillfully crafted coming-of-age story of a young girl in seventeenth-century Persia. 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. They seek help from their only living relative, her father’s half-brother who lives in ...more
Amanda
Dec 24, 2008 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. Such a narrator made the story accessible for both a modern and a Western audience as ...more
Imi
"I thought about all the labour and suffering hidden beneath a carpet [...] All our labours were in the service of beauty, but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers."
The Blood of Flowers is a carefully crafted historical novel set in the 17th century Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas the Great. This is historical fiction at its best, thoroughly absorbing the reader in another time and place and introducing them to past cultures and ways
...more
Tania
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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
...more
Ubaidah
Oct 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Misfit
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
Nicolette
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS
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
...more
Heidi Timmons
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a lush, tragic, and redemptive story. I love the making of rugs and descriptions of color as a backdrop to this woman’s struggle. I was originally going to give this book 4 stars as it was almost too sad at times, but after hearing the author interview at the end and realizing she never said her main character’s name the entire book, and I was so absorbed into this character’s thoughts and point of view to notice, I had to give the book 5 stars. What talent! I felt like I knew the character ...more
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
This was a little difficult to read at times because the protagonist was just so damn naive and you just knew whatever situation she was hopeful about was going to go terribly wrong. I would have liked to have been better convinced of her transformation throughout the book rather than just be told she had become more mature after the trials she'd endured. The writing wasn't especially great, but I've never read a book set in Iran, past or present, so it was interesting to read. (However, it also ...more
Eh?Eh!
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
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!
Janice
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
...more
Thomas Ray
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
Blood of Flowers

377 pages, almost all of them grim.

A rich man gets all the(view spoiler)

To earn money you must have something to sell, and the ability to sell it and not get (view spoiler)

It's a short step from broke to debased, hungry, tired, weak, miserable, filthy, cold, wet, sick, … .

Set in Persia in the 1620s; that sort of grimness is neither long ago nor far away.

Opulence creates squalor, then and n
...more
Brian Griffith
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This imagined life of a young woman in Safavid Persia in the 1600s is one of the most vivid re-creations of an historical universe I'll ever seen. ...more
Kata
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Gaijinmama
This book has sat on my shelf for around three or four years. The title fits a Reading Challenge I'm doing, but more importantly, in the past year or two a few lovely, brilliant, fierce Iranian women have crossed my path and made my world a much more interesting place. They're all very different people, and have made me more aware of the rich history and ethnic/ cultural diversity of Iran.
In short, the timing was right and this book really resonated with me.
I connected with the narrator, too, e
...more
Shomeret
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Vic Van
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on one of my mother's shelves quite a few years ago and it had been sitting on mine ever since. I am glad now that I finally felt in the mood to actually read it because the story was very much to my liking.

The author spent a lot of time researching the historical details, so I can only assume that the story is fairly accurate as far as the customs and descriptions of everyday life were in those days in Iran.

One thing is for sure. Women didn't have easy lives in Iran in those d
...more
Natasa
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iran
If you like historical fiction, you will like this one. It’s a refreshing change of ideas and narration from others out there. The story of the girl will transport you through the years into a time where women didn’t have much to say outside of their homes and yet somehow are more influential than anyone can dream of.
Petra
Dec 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
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.
HomeInMyShoes
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good. Very good. Worth reading just for the traditional stories at the end of each section.
Gina *loves sunshine*
DNF @33% - gosh, I really wanted to like this one because the story of the rug making started off good. It just didn't pick up in the character areas and relationships ...more
Sally906
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Set in Iran in the 17th century a nameless 14-year-old village girl starts to tell her story. As THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS opens the girl and her parents live a happy, if poor, life and she is looking forwards to the possibility of a marriage being arranged in the coming year. She makes carpets and loves designing and making beautiful works of art. A comet appears in the night sky and the local religious leader foretells strife and bad luck while the comet is there. The comet soon proves to be the pr ...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.

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