Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Blood of Flowers 17th Century Persia

Tragedy propels an odyssey of growth as it always does in the oriental tales of truth and the narrator now superimposed stresses that as her standard,and that the daughter is that narrator.We get a taste of Isfahan and meet their extended family in the person of Gostaham the carpet maker who works in the palace of Shah Abbas . He has a great talent in color selection as well. Through Gordiyeh his wife, the narrator/niece meets and befriends Naheed a spoiled and wealthy girl who uses their friendship as a smokescreen to meet a handsome young polo rider whom her family will probably disapprove. All in all, the saga, the odyssey, earmarks survival of poverty in a hard world and is similar thematically to the film "Amerika,Amerika,"

tracing the odyssey of a Greek young man during the Turkish oppression who makes it to the statute of liberty on his own and for his family,and goes to America despite an attractive offer to marry into a family of wealth in the old world. Freedom of the spirit as represented by the statue is more of worth than a planned life of wealth and ease lacking adventure and challenge. the impetus to growth .Other elements mollify and enrichen the narrative:

  • details on the art of carpet making

  • seven tales interweave the narrative, a trait of the oriental narrative.

  • Audiobooks has a review of this book read by Shohreh Aghdashloo

  • History written after the fact is at its best impregnated with literary imagination, its necessary element and this book is rich in that quality with interwoven folktales.The end of each of these are not marked in the audibles version by musical interludes, possibly an artistic oversight and not a "flaw".

  • 'first there wasn't and then there was' is the phrase demarcating the folktales.

  • The discussion with the author at the end is enlightening as to why the narrator is not named and her future.

  • the melodious reading of Aghdashloo is contrasted with her flat questions to the author.

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
Order: USA Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007
(2007)Hardcover, CD
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
In a remote village in seventeenth century
Persia, a fourteen-year old girl lives happily with her parents, Maheen and
Isma'il, surrounded by a supportive extended family, and looking forward to
marriage that year. Then tragedy strikes, sending mother and daughter to seek
refuge with Isma'il's wealthy half-brother Gostaham in Isfahan.
Though Maheen is
known for her honeyed storytelling, it's her daughter who tells us what happened
and that 'I would never have imagined that I could lie and, worse yet, not tell
the whole truth; that I could betray someone I loved and abandon someone who
cared for me, although not enough; that I could strike out against my own kin;
and that I would nearly kill the person who loved me most
.'When Maheen and the
narrator arrive in Isfahan, they're awed by the size of the capital that was
once considered half the world. Gostaham is a skilled carpet maker whose
workshop is in the palace of the great Shah Abbas himself. He has a particular
talent for color selection and design. He welcomes them as family but his
grasping wife Gordiyeh is less kind,
treating them as servants and working them
hard. Through Gordiyeh, her niece meets and befriends Naheed, a spoiled girl
from a wealthy family. Naheed teaches her to write and uses their friendship as
a smokescreen for meetings with a handsome young polo rider, of whom her family
is sure to disapprove.
Our heroine, who's already a skilled knotter of rugs and
has a passion for the art, learns much from her uncle about color selection and
about overall design integrity.After getting in trouble for lying for Naheed and
also for an impulsive act, the young woman is pressed hard by her aunt to accept
a sighegh, a three-month renewable marriage contract with wealthy horse breeder
At the time, neither she nor her mother realize how such arrangements
are looked upon and what she has given up by yielding to her aunt's wishes.
She's a strong-willed young woman, who must learn to temper her own drive and
passion with the dictates of reality and what it takes to survive poverty in a
hard world.
Though she enjoys sexual pleasure with Fereydoon and works out how
to keep his interest, she's eventually faced with how little he values her. She
makes a decision with frightening repercussions for herself and her
mother.Fascinating details on the art of carpet making are weaved through the
novel - what goes into the design, how a choice of colors should be made, and
the sheer time and effort required in knotting a rug with nimble fingers. The
art of storytelling is also interwoven in the form of seven tales (five adapted
from traditional stories) that enrich and brighten the main pattern of the
storyline. I
enjoyed The Blood of Flowers very much for its Iranian background,
for its young heroine's joy in art, and for the manner in which she learns that
she can take charge of her own life and tell her own tale.Audiobook Review by
Barbara Lingens:Beautifully read by Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Blood of Flowers is
a richly imagined look at the life of women in seventeenth-century Persia.
into the story are several folktales,
which are probably set off typographically
in the text version. In the auditory version it would be more effective if they
were marked somehow, perhaps with the kind of music that is used at the end of
each CD.
As it is, there is some confusion as to what is tale and what is story
until the listener figures out that sequences beginning with 'first there wasn't
and then there was' are folktales
.The discussion with the author at the end is
most interesting. Author Amirrezvani is very forthright with her responses, and
I especially appreciated her explanation of why the narrator is not named and
what is in store for her future.
Though, after listening to the melodious
reading of the text (Aghdashloo doesn't have so much of an accent as an
interesting pronunciation), it was surprising how flat her questions to the
author sounded.
Overall, this is an audio experience to enjoy in company because
there is much to think about and discuss

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