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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
Publisher : Headline
Pages : 369
Published : May 2007
Genre : Fiction

An unnamed protagonist, Iran in the 1620s, the art of knotting carpets, transition of a young girl's life as she journeys from the village to the city.

All of these combine to make Anita Amirrezvani's debut novel a stunning read. It follows the Iranian story telling tradition where the narrator is not given a name. The experience is a bit unsettling at first. After all, you want a name to associate with, but the story pulls you way beyond the fixation of naming the central character.

The author skilfully draws you into her character's life. Things seem perfect, then come undone when she loses her father. Survival means she and her mother have to give up the life they have known in the village. Left with no option, they move to exotic Isfahan.

It is a beautiful city, though living with the grudging charity of relatives makes things difficult. As do some of the friendships that are forged. The narrator's mother hopes marriage can change their fortunes:
"Marrying you is the only way we can hope to live on our own again,' said my mother. She turned away and fell asleep almost immediately. I wished there were a way to make her life sweeter."

Things get a tad sweeter when she is allowed to work on what she liked to do as a child. Knotting carpets. If you like the intricacies of the weaves that beautifully adorn floors and walls then this book will definitely work for you. Making carpets is a fine art - that much we all know. Before you can even get to the rendition though, there are colours, designs, patterns, wool and the materials. Apart from the skill needed for all of this is the need to delight the eye with patterns, to make them refreshing, they ensure they surprise the eye, yet don't overwhelm it.

I loved how Amirrezvani brought all of these elements together while talking about a life that often seemed like it would fall apart. Though just like any great book, when you think you've got a hang of the plot, there's the twist. The carpets, the foiled sale, the sigheh - which is a temporary marriage contract and the last resort for the protagonist - all combine to make 'The Blood of Flowers' a great page turner.

It saw me burn my midnight oil. No regrets though, it was well worth the panda eyes the next morning.

This book took nine long years to write and the labour of love clearly shows in the sparkling prose backed by the extensive research that went into its writing.

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