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The Blood of Flowers

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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 happy marriage grow dim, and she finds herself faced with a daunting decision--to forsake her own dignity or to risk everything in an effort to maintain it.

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers' imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman's struggle to live a life of her choosing.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published June 5, 2007

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About the author

Anita Amirrezvani

4 books508 followers
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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5 stars
5,466 (29%)
4 stars
7,974 (43%)
3 stars
3,907 (21%)
2 stars
724 (3%)
1 star
169 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,069 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
May 27, 2021
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 are compelling.

overall, this is a pretty well-rounded novel and i would be willing to pick up another book by this author.

4 stars
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,802 reviews1,234 followers
August 20, 2008
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 the various life experiences of all the characters.

My only minor complaint is that possibly too much happened right at the end of the book; it took a long time to get there. I enjoyed the journey but it seemed a bit packed toward the end and, even though I understand the reasoning of leaving the end partially up to the readers’ imaginations, I would have loved to know more about what happened next and far into the future for that matter.

So, this is the book that finally (perhaps) will break me of my habit of reading every single word on the cover and in the inside flaps and any reviews included. (We’ll see.) As usual, I read all the text mentioned before I read the book. I therefore then kept waiting for certain things to happen rather than just enjoying the story as it unfolded and being able to be completely surprised as events occurred. (Even though I haven’t yet followed my own advice, I’d suggest reading the novel first and then, if interested, reading the text not written by the author.)

However, even though I read a hardcover edition which often doesn’t include such extras, I thought the book was greatly enhanced by the included author’s notes at the end of the book. I would have enjoyed the novel as much without them but the information was very interesting and, along with the novel, piqued my interest in seventeenth century Iranian history, especially as it pertains to women.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,945 followers
September 15, 2011
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 a form of semi-respectable prostitution). Specifically, too much time was spent on her developing abilities as a hot number in the bedroom, and how this affected her friendship with Naheed. This excessive focus made the book feel a little like historical-fiction-meets-chick-lit.

The author spent nine years researching and writing the book, so I think I was frustrated, knowing it could have been so much richer. I would have preferred a lot more portrayal of the glories and customs of Isfahan under Shah Abbas the Great, and much less of the pettiness among the various characters.

That said, I did enjoy the book and would welcome another from this author. I got to learn about the design and creation of elaborate Persian rugs. I never knew they were made by tying thousands of little knots. I still don't get exactly how it's done, and I'd love to see it in action.

There's an enlightening interview with the author at the back of the book. She says the rugs are still hand-knotted today in Iran. It makes my fingers ache just thinking about it.
Profile Image for Emily Coffee and Commentary.
470 reviews157 followers
December 28, 2022
A sensual and Illuminating tale of choosing one’s own destiny. Filled with dazzling scenes and intense emotion, this novel transports us to the streets of Isfahan, and into the heart of a protagonist that is vivacious, determined, and hopeful. The descriptions of rug making were enchanting and highly informative, and the lessons of this story are valuable to this day. A hidden gem for historical fiction.
Profile Image for Jen.
991 reviews54 followers
December 4, 2013
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 almost redeemed the writing style for me, but then at the end it turns out that they're actual folklore passed down, not the author's own words. I wish I hadn't anticipated this so much because it was a bit of a let-down.
Profile Image for Niledaughter.
83 reviews346 followers
April 11, 2011
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 professionalism . When I talk about it ; I need three different axes :

- The rug craft :
The details caught by artistic bright eyes; that became mine ! the verbal camera that caught nature beauty and urban distinguish , the concepts .. life's hardness transformations into touchable and live pieces of art , all of this were amazingly handled .
true you will never look at a Persian carpet with the same eyes after reading this book !

- The heroine's life :
it presented a full detailed of the social and cultural Iranian life in the seventieth century , specially some the Shia's traditions and ceremonies , focusing mainly on females' position . it was my first time to read in details about (Sigheh) or what we know in Arabic as (pleasure marriage and it is forbidden for sunni so I do not know much about, also I am not sure if all Shia approve it), this marriage is nothing but a sexual relationship, where a woman is a trapped in weird position among : wife ..mistress and prostitute ! trying to hold on to a man that she will never really possess and a dignity that she may never restore ! this part was portrayed in a very touching way , even the direct graphical sexual descriptions (which were more than what I expected) functioned with the nature of the heroine's miserable situation . and through this axis it is the author's target discussing feminism ..freedom and independency , the concept here was very strong presented and may be that what made the ending - somehow- left open.

- the folk or fairy tales :
Each chapter ended with a one , trying to tie the characters' lives & destines to heritage and Persian historical magical context , some were regionally rooted like (Haroot and Maroot) , some historically like (Laila's mad) , and some legendry , they fit in some parts and did not in others , but in general it was a clever enhancing method for the environment the author tried to materialize ..

A final quote that presented the title (by the heroine) :

(I thought about all the labor and suffering that were hidden beneath a carpet , starting with the materials . vast fields of flowers had to be murdered for their dye , innocent worms boiled alive for their silk - and what about the knitters ? must we sacrifice ourselves for the sake of rugs ?)

This novel is from the kind that I could not put down until finishing it ...
Profile Image for Dem.
1,190 reviews1,131 followers
February 23, 2013
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 journey from her carefree childhood into adulthood and a great insight into a world unknown to most of us.

I really enjoy novels that depict different cultures and customs and really found this novel interesting especially the way in which the people lived and the scenery of this country which was very well described in the novel.

The author spent nine years researching and writing this book and when reading the novel you certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into this book as the author not only tells a story she educates the reader along the way.

I really enjoyed the characters and this novel has a wonderful sense of time and place which is so important to me when reading historical fiction novels.

I probably would have given this book 4 stars but I found the fairytale stories within the story quite tedious and while a couple seemed to fit with the plot other just seemed pointless and for me took away from the overall enjoyment of the novel.

Having said that this is a very enjoyable and interesting read and one I will recommend to friends. I also think this would make a great book club read as there are lots of topics for discussion.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,342 reviews441 followers
February 8, 2016
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...unless you're Cecily.

The author is Iranian-American and she says in the interview at the end that she came to the States at a young age but that she returned to Iran to visit family when she was older. This fairy tale-like story, based only in the author's imagination and not on an older tale, blends Persian storytelling with American story-hearing, which is to say it showcases an older culture fairly different from what we're used to but that it makes sense to the American reader because of the way it is told, with the beginning that flows to the middle that flows to the end. No, not all cultures tell their stories that way but we Americans love order so that's how we structure our tales. Anyway, it starts like a Disneyfied bit of the Arabian nights and then suddenly gets real and finally morphs into a by-the-bootstraps tale (see? Appeals to American sensibilities!) It's recognizable and relatable while still foreign.

The treatment of women in this story is going to upset some readers. I was more grossed out by the old men and their young wives thing; that always makes me feel a bit skeeved. I kept having to remind myself: A) that this is a reflection of societal norms from another time in another culture ; B) that it's a story. I'm supposed to listen, reflect, and learn, not judge (hahahah! Whatever. I just said that to sound smart. I judge EVERYthing ALL the time); and C) to just shut up and listen to this story, freakshow. Stop over analyzing it and just enjoy it.
And that's what I did. I enjoyed it. I liked how our (intentionally) nameless protagonist was an adored daughter, then a homeless waif, then a sex slave (essentially) then a homeless waif again, and all the while a blossoming rug-maker. I like the things she discovered about herself, about her parents, about the world. I even liked being frustrated at her stupidity, at her inability to think rationally, at her being portrayed as passionate/base/bull-headed.
If that sounds boring then might I recommend this to anyone interested in textiles, Persian rugs, especially. I suspect such readers will enjoy the descriptions of rug-making that weave (yes, I totally did that) throughout the tale. Anyone who likes storytelling within stories will enjoy this (well, probably).

I think the content would have been better described had the title been The Girl Who Made A LOT Of Really Poor Decisions and Almost Didn't Learn Anything Until It Was Too Late, though, honestly, I am kind of surprised it wasn't called First There Wasn't and Then There Was though I guess anything with the word "blood" in the title is going to be more noticeable.

Ok. Now I'm going to be an ass.
I kept wanting this guy to show up and sweep nameless rug-maker off her feet so she could marry him and tell us how great he was at sex:
 photo ce4795564c28e4f5e3eeb634e31f42dd_zpsd5da19c9.jpg
Because I would totally be part of that dude's harem.
Profile Image for Julija Pocevičienė.
66 reviews4 followers
July 18, 2023
Knyga, kurią skaitant vis galvoji apie moterų teises, galimybes rinktis, savarankiškai spręsti, oriai gyventi, vadovautis vertybėmis - kiek daug turime dabar, ir kiek mažai to buvo aprašomuoju laikotarpiu knygoje. Tavo teisėtas vyras bet kada į namus galėjo atsivesti antrą, trečią ar dar kažkelintą žmoną. Pinigai, galia, statusas leisdavo vyrams daryti viską. O moters gyvenimas - sėkmės dalykas - arba tau pasisekdavo, arba ne. Pasirinkimų praktiškai nebuvo. Praturtinanti knyga.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,780 reviews1,458 followers
September 1, 2020
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) promoted Iranian culture and the arts, including the famed Isfahan carpets. Carpet making and the lives of the people who made these carpets is the central theme of the book. What was it like to be a carpet maker at those times, in the 1600s in Persia? How were they made, what designs were used, what dyes were available? Who did what? Who bought the rugs, who sold the rugs? And the questions diversify. What were the bazaars like? How did the people live? Where did they bathe? Did they bathe? (I would love to go to a “hammam”!) What foods did they eat? What herbal remedies were chosen? What mystical customs were believed in? What were the beliefs of the common people? The comet that crossed the sky, what did that portend? And how did men and women relate to each other? I learned a lot and it all sunk in without an effort. All of these questions are answered. And as befits a novel about art, and making rugs is an art, the language was vivid and colorful, as vivid as the rugs themselves.

For centuries there has existed the Iranian practice of sigheh. This is a legal marriage contract for a specified time period. It was used when the woman’s family had no money for a dowry. In the more respected marriage contracts the family of the woman would pay a large sum of money to the man’s family, a dowry. In the sigheh contract the man’s family pays the money to the woman’s family and the man thereby has conjugal rights for a specific time period. Thus the contract was temporary, although it could be renewed. Why would a woman do this? She loses her virginity, and once lost it can never be bought back. Her value is gone. Some women were forced into this by their parents. Some women hoped they would become pregnant, and maybe a permanent marriage contract would follow. Sigheh is a central theme of this novel, and you will understand what it really was like to live under such a contract.

Poems and tales are a central part of Persian culture. The author interweaves known Persian fables seamlessly into the story. The wonderful author’s note at the end of the book explains the source of these fables. Two of them are her own, but they are indistinguishable from the original tales. I loved all of them.

I never wanted to stop reading. The plot line drew my attention and kept me turning the pages. It was neither predictable nor unbelievable. Both the fables and the prime protagonist’s character traits made me believe in the ending. The ending worked for me. I cannot explain more without giving spoilers.

The characters are human, they make mistakes. There is friendship and respect and astounding cruelty, but all, except for one character that was mean from start to finish, were such a delightful mix of good and bad that they felt made of flesh and bone. You can almost forgive some of the bad things that happen. Only some things, other happenings will infuriate you. Overall there is a good mix.

And I love it when a book of historical fiction has a thorough author’s note. It was the dot over the i, just the perfect ending for a really great book of historical fiction.

The author has recently written another novel:Equal of the Sun. I will have to read that too.
Profile Image for Kamilė | Bukinistė.
242 reviews113 followers
September 7, 2021

Jeigu Jane Austen būtų gimusi kažkur Persijoje... Tuomet jai būtų gavęsi kažkas panašaus į Gėlių Kraują. Pagrindas kaip ir tas pats - kitaip (tuometinėje santvarkoje ir aplinkoje) mąstanti moteris, nedrąsios feminizmo užuominos, tačiau visgi tų moterų pečiams nepakeliami visuomenės standartai, tradicijos, tonas. Pagrindinė herojė lyg ir kitokia nei visi aplink ją, bet tuo pačių kaip ir Jane Austen merginos - naivi, net juokingai (ar graudžiai?). Bet gana to lyginimo, nes čia negalim palyginti, bet lyginam (cituojant kai ką).

O šiaip tai tokia pasaka suaugusiems: stipriai, išties ryškiai juntama Irano atmosfera, spalvos, kvapai ir skoniai, kurie lyg ir užburia, tačiau kartu akistaton stoja ne visai vaikiški dalykai: nesuvokiamas fizinis bei psihologinis smurtas, bei iš ties tai keistai persipynusi erotika. Turbūt per sunku suvokti visus tuos kontrastus, gyvenant Europoje - todėl lyg ir norisi sakyti, jog ši istorija nelabai įtikinama, tačiau gal visgi greičiau - tiesiog negaliu to suprasti. O grįžtant prie tų pasakų - tai jų čia išties buvo ir ne perkeltine prasme, taigi karts nuo karto autorė įterpia pačią tikriausią persų pasaką, ir čia vėl žaidžia kontrastai: tik ką skaitei pasaką apie princesę ir princą, o kitame puslapyje serviruojamas lytinis aktas. Na turiu pasakyti, kad šiaip jau čia tikrai nebuvo mano arbatos puodelis, bet kad buvo neįdomu - pasakyti negaliu, įtraukė, užbūrė, gal nesužavėjo, bet įspūdį paliko.

Nežinau ar verta kalbėti apie moterų situaciją kai kuriose musulmoniškose valstybėse, su kuria šiek tiek galima susipažinti ir šioje knygoje, kai šiuo metu, vyksta tai, kas vyksta Afganistane. Sakydama - neverta, turiu omenyje tai, kad yra akivaizdu, jog visos tos tradicijos ir politinės bei religinės jėgos yra paprasčiausiai nesuvokiamai žiaurios, brutalios ir vienareikšmiškai neteisingos. Tačiau jei tikitės iš šios knygos istorijos į vienus vartus (kaip tokia santvarka ir visuomenė yra blogai), tai visgi čia ne ta knyga. Greičiau ją imkite, norėdami suprasti, kaip visa tai atrodytų jei jau būtumėte gimusi kažkur Rytuose ir jūsų lemtis priklausyti nuo šeimos ir ypatingai vyrų - būtų natūrali duotybė, normali ir priimtina jūsų visuomenės rėmuose.
Profile Image for Gabrielė|Kartu su knyga.
546 reviews262 followers
November 8, 2021
Atėjo toks metas kuomet pajutau, jog norisi vis dažniau į rankas paimti jau klasika tapusius kūrinius. Šios knygos autorė Anita - lietuvių, iraniečių bei amerikiečių kilmės. Tad nekantraudama pasinėriau į naują istoriją ✨📚

Autorė mus nukelia į XVII a. Persiją. Čia mus pasitinka prabangūs turgai, didingi pastatai bei nauji skoniai. Čia susipažįstame su keturiolikmete mergaite, kuri netenka tėvo.. Ji ir jos motina likusi be pagrindinio maitintojo akis į akį susiduria su skurdu bei badu. Abi su motina supranta, jog taip ilgiau tęstis nebegali ir i��keliauja pas vienintelį likusį gyvą giminaitį.. Taip mergaitė bei motina pas dėdę tampa tarnaitėmis. Savame krašte dėdė garsėja kaip vienas žymiausių kilimų kūrėjų. Mergina taip pat nori išmokti šio amato, tačiau tai ne taip paprasta, nes ji nėra berniukas ir pameistriu tapti negali.. Tačiau dėdė matydamas jos begalinį norą mokytis bei talentą, suteikia jai šansą. Taip jai suteikiama proga pakeisti savo likimą..

Autorei puikiai pavyko perteikti Irane tvyrančią atmosferą. Skaitydama knygą jaučiausi taip, tarsi ir aš kartu vaikštinėčiau po prabangiausius turgus bei ragaučiau gardžiausius valgius.
Deja, bet likimas ne visiems gailestingas.. Merginai teko nelengva dalia, o dar jos "dygliuotas" charakteris neretai jai pakišdavo koją. Skaitant šią istoriją buvo gera prisiminti, kuo mane žavi rytų kraštų literatūra. Jų knygos puikiai atskleidžia moterų likimus, tvirtybę bei ištikimybę. Skaitydama šią istoriją, tiesiog negalėjau atsiplėšti, kol neperskaičiau jos visos. Nepaprasta knyga apie paprastos merginos gyvenimą bei norą pačiai susikurti geresnį gyvenimą. Rekomenduočiau ją perskaityti tiems, kas nesibaido iraniečių literatūros. Mano akimis, vertas dėmesio skaitinys.
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,366 reviews226 followers
May 23, 2021

Очаквах с огромни нетърпение точно това заглавие за Персия от времето на шах Абас и прекрасния Исфахан. Това е един от любимите ми исторически периоди, има невероятен потенциал да съживи тежка за обикновените хора, мракобесна в много отношения (най-вече за жените), но - парадоксално и едновременно с това - впечатляваща културно и политически епоха.

Уви, разочорованието ми е пълно, и произтича от схематичния, равен и натрапчиво безизразен стил на писане. Героите просто са някакви смътни очертания и толкова. Бяха ми напълно безразлични, най-вече главната героиня. Тя няма никакъв вътрешен свят. Сюжетът, до където го издържах (около стотната страница), е просто струпване на някакви “факти”. Нещо като списък с отметнати точки (осиротяла героиня - отметнато, тежък нов живот с неприятни хора - отметнато, нови екзотично-персийски-шиитски мизерии за героинята - отметнато, героинята има специален талант, но не може да го реализира - отметнато, вмъкнати някакви странни персийски приказки за културен елемент - отметнато).

Историята е доста обещаваща, но реализацията и е без какъвто и да е усет, залага се на изреждането, вместо на показването. Много жалко.
Profile Image for Tamara Agha-Jaffar.
Author 6 books253 followers
August 9, 2019
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 the bustling city of Isfahan. They move into his home where both mother and daughter are treated as servants by her uncle’s wife.

Fortunately for the girl, her uncle is an accomplished rug-maker for the Shah. Since she has harbored an enduring passion for designing and making rugs, she becomes her uncle’s assistant, developing her skills, and eventually succeeding in designing and making her own sought-after rugs.

Without a dowry, however, her options as a woman are severely restricted. Pressured by her family, she agrees to a sigheh, a pseudo-marriage renewable every three months. This practice is nothing more than glorified prostitution under the veneer of a temporary marriage. It exploits poor, vulnerable women, denying them the rights of a real marriage, and leaving them completely at the whim of their wealthy benefactor. When the girl refuses to renew the sigheh contract, she and her mother are thrown out into the streets to fend for themselves. Destitute, the girl is forced to beg. Eventually she is able to her expertise in rug-making to lift them out of poverty.

Amirrezvani has produced a gripping tale that transports the reader to seventeenth-century Persia. She spent several years researching material for the novel and succeeds in vividly evoking the fabric of life in Isfahan—the bazaars, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the food, the clothing, the colors, the gender stratification and exploitation of women. She peppers her narrative with short folk tales, some of which are traditional and some of which she fabricates.

A major strength of the novel lies in the detailed description of the process of rug-making. The vibrant colors and dyes; the intricate detail of each design; the work of translating the design on paper into a rug; the painstaking work of generating small, tightly bound knots to make the desired images and patterns; and the skilled artistry and craftsmanship involved in each step lead up to a breathtaking finished product that earns enthusiastic accolades from all who see it.

The only criticism of the novel lies in the unnecessarily graphic and lurid details of the sex acts the girl performs with her benefactor to live up to the obligations of the sigheh contract. Although her initial desire to sustain her benefactor’s interest is understandable, the extensive description of her sexual prowess in the bedroom does little to enhance the story. But in an interesting twist, the girl ultimately benefits from her disadvantaged position as a woman in her culture. The circumstances that led her to agree to the sigheh are the very same circumstances that help her transform her life. She capitalizes on being a female to gain access to the Shah’s harem where only women are allowed, using this privileged access to her advantage by befriending the women who then commission her to make their rugs. As a result, she becomes an independent, strong, empowered, and confident business owner who is finally in control of her own destiny.

Its immersive nature in depicting seventeenth century Persia makes this a highly recommended novel for lovers of historical fiction.
Profile Image for Daiva Alonderytė.
20 reviews5 followers
February 20, 2021
Jau anksčiau bandžiau pradėti pažintį su šia knyga, bet tada padėjau ją į šoną. Kažkaip visai “nesiskaitė”. Dabar vėl ją paėmiau į rankas ir ji pražydo visai kitaip.

Tai pasakojimas apie 17 amžiaus Iraną ir merginą, pančiojama įvairių pareigų - moters, dukros, draugės, darbininkės, žmonos. Tačiau vienintelis šios merginos noras - laisvė kurti nuostabaus grožio persiškus kilimus. Kaip išpildyti savo širdies troškimus, kai likimas paruošęs tiek išbandymų?

Perskaičiau ir džiaugiuosi, kad ėmiausi šios knygos. Ji skaitėsi taip lengvai ir įdomiai. Temos susijusios su rytų šalimis, musulmonų tikėjimų ir papročiais visada traukia, nes yra paslaptinga ir mum nepažinta. Dažnai stebiuosi vis sužinodama kažką naujo apie tas šalis ir jų žmones. Taip ir šioje knygoje susipažįsti ne tik su visai kitokios šalies veikėjais, bet dar ir daug įdomių temų, minčių galvoje apsvarstai.

Tai romanas, su erotikos prieskoniu, tačiau visai neprimenantis tu tipinių erotinių romanų. Juk tai musulmoniškas kraštas, kur moteris yra priklausoma nuo vyro, bet ar tikrai visada? 😀

Rekomenduoju, nes niūriam ir šaltam lietuviškam orui atsverti ši knygą yra puikus pasirinkimas.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews313 followers
June 10, 2011
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 it made me realize how brash American thinking and actions can have implications one can not predict nor even imagine when interacting with another society--particularly those in the Middle East. While the story seems to often be headed in the traditional "happily ever after" direction, it doesn't--a few plot lines that I thought were going to be trite and predictable actually surprised me by not ending up where I thought they would (trying not to give away any spoilers here, but suffice it to say that I found the ending to be very appropriate).
Profile Image for Imi.
378 reviews112 followers
July 15, 2016
"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 of life. The effort the author put into researching this time period is clear (she mentions in the author's note/interview at the end of the book that she spent 9 years researching for this novel) and the result allows the reader to fully experience the rich colours, sounds, smells, views and tastes of Iran at this time. I was captivated by the beautiful descriptions of Isfahan, the city's sights, the work of the carpet makers and other craftsman, the food, the folklore. It was a wonderful experience in which I really felt that I had been transported to this time and place.

The novel is a beautiful coming-of-age story of a young girl who has a gift for traditional carpet craft as she moves, due to some rather tragic events, from the familiarity of her carefree childhood home in a small village to the world of the unknown in the big city. I loved that the protagonist is determined and passionate, but clearly very young and immature, which means that she fails to think things through properly before making some very poor decisions. The book clearly shows how difficult the position of women at this time was, by the fact that the decisions of a girl this young can have such harsh consequences for both her and her family. The urge to shake some sense into her was so strong, but only because she was such a realistic, sympathetic and likeable character, and her bad decisions were very believable due to her inexperience and rashness. I really cared for her as a character, so this part of the novel was particularly strong. By the end of the novel, the reader has observed as the protagonist matures and grows in many different ways, and despite being a dark and difficult book at times, I also felt this made the novel beautifully uplifting and hopeful.

As I said, there are parts of the novel that are very dark. One of the important lessons that the protagonist learns is that life is very often unfair, especially for a woman. For some reason, I've read a lot of very depressing books recently, but although there is a lot of pain, suffering and cruelty covered in this novel, Amirrezvani demonstrates that usually life is a mix of the good and the bad. Some reviewers have said parts of the book were a little bit "fairy-tale", but I don't think so (at least not in the sense that the events are unrealistic). I'd like to believe that there is a lot of good in the world, along with the bad, and I was glad to read a book that reflects that.

That said, fables or fairy tales play an important role in Persian heritage and culture, and, therefore, Amirrezvani decided to include several adapted folk tales, scattered throughout the novel, which complimented the events of the main narrative. These tales were excellent and I appreciated them as another fascinating insight into the culture. As Amirrezvani explains in her brilliant author's note at the end of the book, she took further inspiration from Persian folk tales when structuring the main narrative and in the fact that the protagonist is left unnamed, which is a traditional feature of folk tales.

My only complaint is that a large part of the novel is taken up by the protagonist's involvement in the Iranin practise of a sigheh, basically a tempory marriage contract, usaully for the sexual pleasure of the man. The practise itself was interesting, especially in terms of its impact on the woman's position in society, but it did mean that there were a number of sex scenes in this part of the novel, where the protagonist increasingly grows in confidence in the bedroom. Personally, I usually find reading about sex rather dull, so these parts of the novel dragged a little for me and I don't think it was necessary for this part of the novel to be so drawn out. However, I didn't think this reason enough to drop a star from my rating, as the sex scenes weren't painfully bad, as they can be in some books, and I understood their purpose in the overall narrative and in discussing issues around women's independence.

In conclusion, I hope I've done this novel justice in this review and managed to the outline the reasons why this novel worked so well for me personally. I highly recommend it both to lovers of historical fiction and those interested in reading about a strong young woman. In the future, I'd love to read more books about the reign of Shah Abbas, which seems to be a fascinating period of history, as I've learnt both by reading this novel and wonderful author's note/interview at the end. Thank you, Anita Amirrezvani, for your effort in crafting such a beautiful book.
Profile Image for Gretos knygos.
602 reviews157 followers
April 16, 2021
Labai nustebau, kai šį romaną atradau bibliotekoje. Pačiupau iškart, nors puikiai mačiau, kaip kita moterėlė viltingai nužvelgė viršelį, bet nebespėjo. Kadangi seniai norėjau jį perskaityti, tai vos pabaigusi „Puikybę ir prietarus“ čiupau šią. Perskaičiau trim prisėdimais. Man asmeniškai labai patinka knygos apie kitas kultūras, papročius, aprangą, rankdarbius... taigi ir ši nenuvylė. Romane vystosi motinos ir dukros gyvenimo istorija mirus tėvui ir moterims atsikrausčius į kitą miestą pas tolimus giminaičius... viskas būtų puiku, tačiau dukrai laikas tekėti, o giminaičio namuose jos tėra tarnaitės, neskaitant to, jog mergina, padedama dėdės, mokosi rišti kilimus. Istorijoje įsivelia ir šiek tiek meilės, keršto, prakeikimų ir burtų motyvų. Labai keisti pasirodė santuokos papročiai XVII a. Persijoje, kai galima sudaryti laikiną santuoką, trims mėnesiams, su galimybe ją pratęsti... o jaunikis ne tik mėgaujasi „laikina“ žmona, bet ir moka jos šeimai pinigus. Sužavėjo motinos ir dukros santykiai, dukters noras mokytis ir tobulėti.
Labai patiko aplinkos ir kilimų kūrimo aprašymai, viskas skaitant buvo tarsi užuodžiama ir matoma. Knygą tikrai rekomenduoju, nes ji labai subtili, jauki, o kiekvieno skyriaus pabaigoje yra tarsi po pasaką-apysaką, kuri suteikia knygai paslaptingumo, nes tuos pasakojimus galima labai ryškiai pritaikyti veikėjams.
Profile Image for Tania.
1,234 reviews285 followers
October 8, 2014
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 leaving her with a dowry, a seventeenth-century Persian teen becomes a servant to her wealthy rug designer uncle in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great, where her weaving talents prove both a blessing and curse.
Profile Image for Ubaidah.
6 reviews35 followers
October 29, 2010
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 making, and I believe from now onwards I would never view a carpet as I used to see.
I am glad that I picked this book from the shelves of the bookstores, which was really random.
Profile Image for Misfit.
1,637 reviews289 followers
August 20, 2008
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 sufficiently that I don't need to rehash it again, but suffice it to say that a series of bad choices made by the girl lead her and her mother into extreme poverty and to the brink of making the most difficult choice of all.

Apparently the author spent nine years researching and writing this book and those details do show throughout the book, and it's always nice to get an inside look at a lesser known country and it's culture and customs, and most especially the art of rug-making. I really did enjoy this book and had a hard time putting it down whilst reading it, but I have the same issues the other three star reviewers had. The ending was too rushed; another 50-100 pages carrying it to a more successful conclusion would have really rounded it out much better. I also didn't care for the little "short stories" that the author inserted to shed additional light on her story. Frankly, I ended up skipping them and I don't feel I missed anything in doing so. And last, but not least, the behavior of the main character and the selfish choices she made really didn't endear her to me, nor did any other character in the book - I just flat out didn't like anyone but the mother. I'm glad I read it, but it's not a book and characters that are going to stick with me long after I've finished it. Three stars.
Profile Image for Heather ~*dread mushrooms*~.
Author 19 books488 followers
December 13, 2013
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 rankled at times thanks to the views on women presented within.) Ultimately, this was a rather forgettable read.
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
373 reviews4 followers
April 28, 2008
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!
Profile Image for Ringa Sruogienė.
463 reviews114 followers
August 11, 2019
Kaip surišti nuostabų kilimą ir kaip kaskart vis kitaip suteikti malonumą vyrui. Ir dar į tarpus po pasaką.
Profile Image for Vesela.
317 reviews11 followers
December 22, 2021
За огромно съжаление мога да кажа, че книгата не ми хареса така , както очаквах...
Не че е супер-зле , но просто ѝ липсва заряда на романите на другата иранска авторка Паринуш Сании.
Да, интересно е да научаваш неща от бита на Иран и по-специално за живота в Исфахан през 17 век, но нещо много съществено не ѝ достига на тази книга, за да кажа уау. Мисля, че това много съществено нещо е липсата на особен талант от страна на авторката.. Не успях да се развълнувам така, както други книги в същата тематика са успявали да го сторят. Бях страничен и дистанциран наблюдател на страданията на героинята - осиротяло момиче-килимарка, което попада заедно със своята майка от селото си в Исфахан, където бива приютено от чичо от първата жена на дядо ѝ Joy
Беше ми интересно да науча за т.нар. "временни бракове", сключвани за определен период /може и за 2 часа/ срещу заплащане от мъжа за "законен" секс.. Изобщо всякакви мизерии и предателства има в романа Grinning
Имаше и едни народни ирански приказки и предания , които стояха често като кръпки в повествованието.
Не знам... повече очаквах от книгата.
Крайната ми оценка е 2,5*
Profile Image for Dmitrijus Andrušanecas.
227 reviews284 followers
February 7, 2019
ANITA AMIRREZVANI ir jos literatūrinis debiutas GĖLIŲ KRAUJAS įvyko 2007 metais. Tuo metu, kai nieko nesupratau apie moteris ir jų prislopintas teises, apie socialinę atskirtį ir klasifikaciją, apie kilimus ir jų reikšmes, apie sunkumus ten ir tada, už Europos ir prieš XXI a.

Autorės pasakojama istorija apima laikotarpį 17 a., kai Persijoje, mano manymu, buvo svarbūs trys dalykai – turtas/skurdas, moteris/vyras ir kilimai. Pastaroji tema tokiam skaitytojui, kaip aš, pakankamai detaliai nupasakojo tai, kaip vyksta „kilimo virtimas kilimu“. Detaliai ir aiškiai yra nusakomi kilimo kūrimo ypatumai. Kaip svarbu išgauti, kokio kilimo nori užsakovas, kokios detalės ir koks turi būti piešinys, spalvų žaismas ir jų išgavimo būdai. Kilimui pagaminti neužtenka piešinio, siūlų, bet reikia nemažai rankų darbo bei ištvermės! Kai kilimas nepasidaro per kelias dienas ar savaites, kalba eina apie mėnesius – ilgus laiko mąstus.

Kiekvienas istorijos personažas savaip stiprus, savaip įdomus ir savaip mūsų, skaitytojų, mylimas arba nekenčiamas. Visi jie „talentingi aktoriai“, kurie puikiai atlieka jiems patikėtus vaidmenis to laikmečio kakofonijoje. Kai tik vyras gali užsiimti verslu, kai tik vyras gali meistrauti kilimus, kai tik vyras perduoda patirtį kitam vyrui, kai vyras turi teisę išnaudoti, kai vyras turi teisę nemylėti, bet turėti, kai vyras yra viršesnis už moterį. Tas vaidmenų pasiskirstymas kursto neapykantą veikėjams už jų bestuburiškumą ir už jų baimę pasipriešinti. Bet, tie laikai galimai buvo ne vieta ir ne laikas eksperimentuoti savo „balso“ stiprumą, tačiau juk kažkas tai darė, kitaip mes nebūtų čia, kur ir kaip esame dabar.

Atkreiptinas dėmesys į trapumą, kai šeimoje netenkama suaugusio vyro, kuris atsakingas už šeimos ir namų gerovę. Kai viskas griūva, kas toliau? Moteris ir vaikai lieka ten, kažkur. Jie nebūtinai gali sulaukti pagalbo iš giminių, jie nebūtinai gali sulaukti sėkmės, jie palikti be to itin svarbaus saugumo jausmo, kurio mes visi taip trokštame ir dėl kurio mes taip stengiamės. Visa tvarka kas „po to“, kokios nusistovėjusios tradicijos ir papročiai, kokie reikalavimai, kokia ta ateitis.

Pačios autorės vaizdingas, detalus rašymo stilius ir lietuviškas vertimas – nuostabus kūrinio įprasminimas. Labai patiko tai, ką skaičiau ir perskaičiau. Mėgavausi kiekviena akimirka - sekama pasaka suaugusiems. Galbūt, artėjant į pabaigą, pajutau, kad tam tikros vietos buvo perteklinės arba kiek ištemptos (ligos scena), o pačioje pabaigoje tiek visko įvyko, jog nespėjau pasidžiaugti kartu su veikėjais. Ką jau kalbėti apie galimybę sužinoti, tai kas gi ir kaip toliau.

Visada noriai perskaitau epilogus, autoriaus padėkas ir komentarus kūrinio pabaigoje. Autorės žodžiai – labai taiklūs ir reikalingi, norint nuodugniau susipažinti su jos literatūriniu debiutu, istoriniu kontekstu ir jos sumąstymais/pamąstymais. Verta perskaityti.

Rekomenduoju įvairių kultūrų atradėjams ir mylėtojams. Meistriškai ir vaizdingai nupieštas autorės Anitos Amirrezvani literatūrinis kūrinys, kuris, tikiuosi, nepaliko ir nepaliks abejingų! Fantastika, tikrai.
Profile Image for Nicolette.
151 reviews
March 31, 2014
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 by Gostaham and his mean wife, Gordiyeh.

They are worked hard in the kitchen but the girl prefers to spend time with her carpet-designing uncle. Back in her village she was one of the best carpet knotters and she is determined to learn everything about carpets from Gostaham so she can use this to her advantage later on.

The reader is introduced to the world of knots, wool, dyes, designs and everything else that goes into making a carpet. While the future looks bright for the girl, she is forced into marriage after a disgraceful act and must rely on her artistic genius and her extraordinary will to save herself and her mother.

Iran-born Anita Amirrezvani was raised in San Francisco but has visited Iran many times to learn about her heritage. This is her first novel and it weaves a charming tale that transports the reader to another country and time. Isfahan will come alive in your soul and mind.

Those who liked Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns will enjoy The Blood of Flowers, which was recently on Exclusive Books’ Boeke shortlist for accessible, engrossing reads. — Nicolette Scrooby
Profile Image for Heidi Timmons.
38 reviews7 followers
October 26, 2019
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 inside and out, all without even realizing the author never revealed her name. I will be buying this book for an Iranian friend. I hope she will enjoy it. I feel lucky to have seen the gorgeous rugs at the house of my Iranian friend, as I pictured them the entire time I listened to this book. Also, the reader was fantastic.
Profile Image for Aušrinė.
292 reviews86 followers
November 12, 2020
Anita Amirrezvani "Gėlių kraujas" buvo netikėtas atradimas. Skaičiau labai greitai, nes buvo labai įdomu sužinoti, kaip klostysis mergaitės likimas netekus tėvo ir tvirtam pagrindui slystant iš po kojų.

Knygos anotacija teigia, kad pasakojama istorija vyksta XVII a. Persijoje, o pati autorė baigiamajame žodyje sukonkretina - 1620-ieji Iranas. Kad viskas vyksta Irane yra tikrai aišku, nes tas paminėta kelis kartus ir sutampa vietovės. O štai metai pačioje istorijoje nėra minimi. Juos tik galima nuspėti iš paminėtų kovų Irano pasienyje ar tai, kad prieš kažkiek metų buvo pastatytas koks nors garsus tiltas. Pačioje mergaitės istorijoje, ką ji išgyvena, kokios tradicijos vyrauja, man būtų sunku pasakyti, ar tai vyksta šiais laikais ar prieš kelis šimtmečius. Iki šiol buvau skaičiusi tik Khaled Hosseini knygas ("Bėgantis paskui aitvarą", "Tūkstantis saulių skaisčių", "Ir aidėjo kalnai") apie musulmonišką kultūrą ir nepasakyčiau, kad jose aprašomi dalykai labai skirtųsi nuo aprašomų "Gėlių kraujyje". Moters pagrindinis gyvenimo tikslas yra gerai ištekėti ir pagimdyti sūnų. Kas šioje knygoje man buvo įdomu, tai mergaitės nuoširdus noras ištekėti anksti. Ji suprato, kad yra našta savo dėdei (ar labiau jo žmonai), kad tik ištekėjus už tinkamo vyro ji su mama vėl galės gyventi sau. Net kai jai tenka sutikti su sige, ji vis tiek stengiasi atlikti savo vaidmenį tinkamai. Ir čia dauguma porų galėtų pasimokyti iš šios paauglės, kad svarbu ne tik .

Mane labiausiai žavėjo kilimų kūrimo aprašymai. Maniau, kad mergaitės dėdė bus koks nemalonus žmogus, kuris nenorės jai padėti, bet buvau nustebusi, kad jis vis tik yra geras ir pasiryžęs ją mokyti. Apie kilimus knygoje parašyta tiek, kad man norisi tik dar daugiau informacijos apie juos ieškoti: kaip rišami tie smulkūs mazgeliai, kokie motyvai ir spalvos vyrauja. Džiugu, kad .

2020-ųjų skaitymo iššūkis
I lygis
1. Knyga, privertusi nubraukti ašarą.
Labai retai knyga mane "priverčia nubraukti ašarą", tad šiam punktui nusprendžiau užskaityti knygą, kuri bent vos vos mane sugraudino. Tai įvyko 20 puslapyje, kai motina ėmė sielvartauti dėl tėvo. Kažkaip aiškiai įsivaizdavau, kaip ji suklinka ir blaškosi. Ir tas vaizdas buvo gana graudus.
III lygis
27. Šalies, kurioje yra 35 paralelė (Šiaurės arba Pietų platumos) literatūra.
Per Iraną eina 35 Šiaurės platumos lygiagretė.
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