- Fizzy Thoughts: The Blood of Flowers

The Blood of Flowers

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Blood of Flowers
Anita Amirrezvani
2007
368 pages

“They say that the glorious prophet Mohammad, who wiped the sweat off his brow while ascending to the throne of God, spent seven lifetimes in each of the seven heavens, yet returned to earth before his sweat reached the ground. How is this possible? They say it’s possible for time to expand into years for one person, while for another it consumes only an instant.”

Out of all the passages in the book, this one jumped out at me because time has been dragging at work lately. And while my work has absolutely nothing to do with this book (other than the fact that I’m writing this review there), I found it amusing that this one paragraph was just oh so true.

I was really looking forward to this book. I read about it in a few places I can’t recall, and it seemed that people were raving about it. And the back cover claims (actually Geraldine Brooks on the back cover claims) it is a “sensuous and transporting first novel filled with the colors, tastes, and fragrances of life in seventeenth-century Isfahan.” It was a good story, but not that good. I found it a little flat overall. It was missing a bit of spark, some special something that makes me go from “yeah, it was good,” to “why, oh why, did it have to end?!?!?.”

This is a story of a young girl in ancient Iran. After her father dies, she and her mother go to the city of Isfahan, where her uncle takes them in. Although they are treated as servants, they are well fed and our narrator is fascinated by her uncle’s skill as a master weaver. She begins to improve upon her own weaving skills. But in the meantime, her aunt and uncle contract a sigheh for her, which is basically a short-term marriage. In this case, our narrator sacrifices her virginity and the family is receives money and the possibility of future carpet commissions in return. The rest of the story focuses on her struggle to assert her independence in a culture where women have few options, and an unmarried woman dependent on her family has even less.

A few things I liked about the book…the glimpse into another culture and the tales interspersed throughout the story (although I must say the comparison to One Thousand and One Nights seems a bit of stretch. I should probably confess to never having read One Thousand and One Nights, but I can’t see this book aver achieving similar status).


A few things I didn’t like…I could never visualize the weaving process, or the patterns for the carpets, which was frustrating for me. And the narrator has no name. This is explained on the book jacket, though. Evidently it’s in the tradition of the many weavers of ancient Iran who didn’t have the right to sign their work and remain forever nameless. All I know, is it makes writing about the book a difficult task.


This is my fourth book for the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge.

2 comment(s):

Seachanges said...

I will certainly put this book on my list to read as I am always intriqued by books on Iran and in particular Isfahan, having lived there fore some three years.

Ramya said...

hey.. i am just reading this book right now and i am totally loving it:) came by to see what you thought of it..:)

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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