Thursday, May 29, 2008

Giveaway: The Blood of Flowers!


Title: The Blood of Flowers
Author: Anita Amirrezvani
Year: 2007
Country: USA/Iranian-American
Pages: 377
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can find the author's website here. The book was also long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize.

First sentence: First there wasn't and then there was.

Blood of Flowers is set in 17th century Iran, and describes the journey of a young woman and her mother from a small village to the large Persian city of Isfahan. The pair are forced to migrate to Isfahan after the death of the girl's father leaves them without a dowry for her marriage. They seek out shelter and assistance in the home of a wealthy uncle. The uncle, Gostaham, is a master rug designer and colorist for Shah Abbas. Although his wife Gordiyeh treats the mother and daughter as servants, Gostaham sees a natural rug-making talent in the young girl, and begins a personal tutelage that is usually only reserved for boys.

The fourteen-year-old girl, who is never named in the novel, is a headstrong individual who tends to make rash decisions that often lead to disastrous results. One such decision puts her in a position in which she is forced to accept a sigheh--temporary marriage--to a wealthy son of a horse trader. Throughout the story, she struggles through a personal journey on many levels: arriving in an unknown city, honing her skills as a rugmaker, but most importantly, growing into a greater maturity level while staying true to her inner spirit.

The tradition of rug-making is explored in-depth, and is a delight to read about; Amirrezvani describes this rich tradition in a beautiful, insightful prose. Folktales are interspersed throughout the narrative in a style reminiscent of Arabian Nights, paying homage to Iran's rich oral tradition. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the description of the Isfahan. All of my senses were awakened with the lush descriptions of the city's great square--The Image of the World--and the adjacent bazaar filled with thousands of vendors selling food, spices, carpets, wool, shoes, leather, in a cacophony of food, culture, and entertainment.

Historical fiction is a wide, varied genre, and has its fill of not-so-great books. Blood of Flowers is definitely one of the more original stories in this genre that I have read in a while. This story is about a girl in a male-dominated culture wishing for more independence, as well as a rich description of the arts-centered Persian culture and traditions of the 17th century. The paperback edition includes a conversation with the author, where she hints at another novel exploring Iranian history. I am eagerly looking forward to her next publication! I also greatly appreciated her recommended reading appendix. I love when books include these lists, and while I have read a few on the list, and already have a few mentioned on my TBR list, there were enough new-to-me titles named to get this book lover's heart racing.
"All our labors were in service of beauty, but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers." (p.351)
More quotes from the novel can be found in my last Sunday Salon post here.

Blood of Flowers Giveaway
The publisher was kind enough to include an extra copy of the book along with my review copy, so I will be giving away a copy to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. The drawing will remain open until Friday, June 6th, at 5pm EST. You can receive an extra entry--and double your chances of winning-by linking to this giveaway on your blog. Just leave a link in the comment section. Sorry to those outside North America, but this contest is only open to those in the United States and Canada.

25 comments:

dolls123 said...

I'd love to read this book

dolls123[at]gmail[dot]com

Hil'Lesha said...

Sounds interesting!

lilacbutterfly [at] earthlink.net

Eva said...

I love it when publishers do that! And I'd love to be in this drawing. :)

ikkinlala said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I'd love a chance to read it!

Melissa said...

This does sound good; a lot like Anahita's Woven Riddle, which I liked quite a bit. I'd love to be in the drawing. :)

Lisa said...

Oh I want to read this one! I have it on my wishlist at paperbackswap.com but the line is moving SO SLOW!

bookslistslife at gmail dot com

Corinne said...

I've never heard of this one - it sounds like something I'd love!!

Teddy Rose said...

What a wonderful review. I think that I would really like this one, so please enter me in the giveaway. I also posted it on my blog. Here is the link:

http://tinyurl.com/5nner8

3M said...

I'd love to be entered, thanks!

Nicola said...

Pleae enter me! Thanks!

Rashmi said...

I like reading this kind of historicals, where the character grows with the story. Count me in. I'm having book giveaways as well, come on by :)

A Book Blogger's Diary

Beastmomma said...

That sounds fantastic. I would love to win a copy. Please put my name in the hat :)

Sherry said...

It sounds good to me. Thanks for the review.

Karin said...

Sounds good. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, babe. Just dropping in to let you know that I posted this over at Win a Book. Thanks for the heads-up!
(and no need to enter me, either. I've got a copy on Mt. TBR.)

April said...

Sounds like a great read! I would love a chance to win, please!

Archana said...

Thanks for the review and having this giveaway. It is in my TBR list and I would love to win this book. Please do count me in.

Regards,
Archana.

Amanda said...

Great review! What an interesting book. Thank you for the contest!

Sassy Mama Bear said...

Your review definitely peaks my interest, would love a chance to win.

sassylucylootoo(at)yahoo(dot)com

tracy said...

Thanks for the contest. please enter me too. My e-mail is
mets86@hotmail.com:)

cpullum said...

Great Review!!!! Like to read it!
cpullum@yahoo.com

cl said...

Sounds like a great book. I'm putting it on my (already too long) to read list. Thanks for the contest (email in blogger profile).

Icedream said...

I love, love historical fiction. I especially love learning about a different culture so this book is right up my alley! I posted about the contest at readinginappalachia(dot)blogspot(dot)com. My email is on blogger profile.

Sandee61 said...

I love books like this. Please include me in your giveaway! Thanks! Enjoyed your bloq site also.

SandyG

Alexa said...

I'd love to read this!
lovinfitch@aol.com