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The Blood Of Flowers [Paperback]

Anita Amirrezvani
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

3 April 2008

Set in seventeenth-century Iran, THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS is the powerful and haunting story of a young girl's journey from innocence to adulthood.

A village girl's dreams of marriage end on the death of her father. Cast on the mercy of relatives in fabled Isfahan, she and her mother are reduced to servitude until she reveals a talent for designing carpets - an invaluable skill. Hope is short-lived, for a disastrous, headstrong act results in the girl's disgrace. Caught between forces she can barely comprehend, she faces a life lived at the whim of others - unless she is prepared to risk everything and choose a future based on her own strength and will.

THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS tells an unforgettable story: a tale of sensuality, of the treachery of friendship, of the power of love, and of the fragile possibility of finding happiness against all odds.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755334213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755334216
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Word-of-mouth is often a reliable guide to the interest of a novel, and in the case of Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers, the considerable preliminary excitement was fully justified. This is a vivid and atmospheric picture of Iran: the way in which the people live, the sunbaked scenery and the architecture. But most of all, this is the involving story of a young girl's journey from a state of innocence to that of sober adulthood. Amidst the colour and excitement of the bazaars of Isfahan, a spirited young village girl is approaching the age when it is expected that she will marry. But suddenly her life is thrown into turmoil at the same time as a luminous comet blazes across the sky. After the death of her much-loved father, the young woman and her inconsolable mother find themselves obliged to cope with a challenging new life in the busy city of Isfahan. They are taken in as house servants by an uncle, a wealthy carpet designer, and his unsympathetic wife. Although life is difficult, Amirrezvani’s protagonist quickly shows her skills as a maker of carpets, and under her uncle's watchful eye, life begins to look positive again. But then an ill-considered action results in the heroine’s fall from grace, and she is forced into a grim secret marriage.

The narrative here is couched in prose by Anita Amirrezvani that positively glows on the page, and the characterisation is similarly acute, notably of the wonderfully drawn heroine. As a journey into a society that will be alien to most readers, this is a remarkable achievement. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'I've just read the most wonderful book by Anita Amirezzvani... it is fascinating, totally original and utterly gripping. It will remain one of my favourite books' (Esther Freud, Independent on Sunday)

'Amirrezvani weaves her own experiences into the prose: giving a sense of the country.' (Eastern Courier Messenger and City Messenger, Australia)

'This is a journey of the soul from enslavement to freedom through the creation of the narrators own story. It exudes a vibrancy of colour and sensuousness but also draws vividly the squalor of poverty.' (Adelaide Advertiser)

'Sensuous and transporting...filled with the colours, tastes and fragrances of life in seventeenth-century Isfahan' (Geraldine Brooks)

'Amirrezvani... infuses her heroine with lilting eloquence' (Washington Post)

'Beautifully imagined... Simply a stunning debut' (San Francisco Chronicle)

'Lushly written, sensual' (Australian Women's Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful new author 2 May 2008
I have to say I was enormously impressed and moved by this novel. Firstly the setting in ancient Iran and the unamed heroine really gripped me. You can sense how much research went into this book, the descriptions of the clothes, food, architecture, and the daily lives of the Iranian people in the 17th century. Very cleverly structured with short tales interwoven into the narrative. What most impressed me though was that during halfway I thought the author was going to tip the book into slushy romance, but then switches it back and in the process made the heroine even more of a fighter.

I always like to compare it to The Kite Runner, not because the stories are similar, but because both writers have done something magical, and captured in print the lives of ordinary beings doing extraordinary things. As such it is very great achievement. Unforgettable.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly enjoyable novel, very vivid! 17 May 2007
The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani tells the story of a young Iranian girl as she makes her way in the world. As she reaches marrying age a comet crosses the sky foretelling doom and bad luck. Shortly after, our narrator's life is turned upside down; her father dies leaving her and her mother with no way to earn a living. Having barely managed to survive a desolate winter in their village, they contact a distant relative in the city and move to Isafhan. In the city, their luck seems to be changing; their family welcome them, and the narrator is learning to nurture her talent as a carpet knotter under her uncle's vigilant eye. However, the bad luck of the comet is not finished with her yet. After a series of hasty decisions she and her mother find themselves homeless. Both women have to learn to become independent and find happiness by themselves and on their own terms. I enjoyed this novel because of the empathy the author causes the reader to feel with the main character, even though we never find out her name. She is a truly three-dimensional character, with flaws and strengths that has the reader cheering for her and raging at her in equal measure. The structure of the novel is also engaging for the reader as it is punctuated with traditional Iranian folk stories, telling tales of magical birds, princesses and naughty angels. 17th century Iran is spectacularly brought to life by Amirrezvani, the squares, the mosques and the bazaars are all described in such a way that you can almost smell the fragrant spices. In this respect the novel is like the carpets at the heart of the story; small knots made of stunning setting, realistic characterisation and unique structure all combine to create an intricate work of art. If you enjoyed The Kite Runner and Memoirs of a Geisha then this novel is for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read 9 July 2007
Whilst this book is well researched and contains a level of detail as a work of fiction it falls down a little. The characters are a little unidimensional and the prose can be a little flat at times. That said the plot is an interesting if rather contrived one and better than the plot are the tales of ancient Persian that pop up from now and again. The real delight though is the detail especially in concerning the traditional method of carpet making. The story tells the tale of a young (nameless) girl who following the death of her father is forced into the city of Isfahan to stay with her relatives. Treated very much as a servant she is coerced into a temporary marriage with a rich benefactor and we're presented with a fairly standard storyline where the girl builds up her talents and tries to achieve her independence. As a male reader one gets the distinct impression that the author is making (a very unsubtle) attack on males and whilst her novel on 17th centaury Iranian feminism is enjoyable it feels slightly unrealistic.

As a novel the book lacks somewhat, however it is worth reading for its descriptions of 17th centaury life in Isfahan and its descriptions of carpet making.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I had never heard of Isfahan before reading this book, but it is now on my list of "places I'd like to visit". I have seen Persian carpets, but now I will look at them with different eyes. The author brings to life a world that is unfamiliar to most readers -- the bright domes of the city, the intricate colours of the carpets, the spices and flavours of the meals, the veiled women floating by, the luxury and cameraderie of the baths, the ugly task of collecting the "night soil". There are shades of Arabian Nights; most obviously in the fables that punctuate and illuminate the narrative, but also when the narrator, like Shezeradze, must enthrall her husband or be cast away. I was also reminded of A Thousand Splendid Suns, where women lead intricate lives behind their veils and their walls.

It's not perfect; the narrative can be uneven and at times the author "tells" when she should "show" (which is a pity, because she can "show" very well). But I will certainly be looking for more titles by Amirrezvani in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good, but only just 25 Aug 2009
I found this book rather lacking actually. I have given it three stars for the following reasons. For one I was surprised to read that it took nine years to write this book, and three research trips. I found no depth of writing drawing me into the people and culture of Iran, it felt more of a yet another 'formula' piece of writing with some up's and downs,and the main character arriving to a happy ending ( well most probably a sequel will follow) I read it in two days, and it seemed to me to lack length and depth and was I think more of a holiday read and nothing significant was gained from reading it. Also it was a woman's book, which I thought was a shame, and felt she missed the opportunity to show the awful treatment of women to men's eyes rather than to the women who already know of its existence. Authors need to be more daring in the telling of their stories I feel and not write to the publishers formula but their own need to make a difference through their words. A chance was missed I feel with this book, but am sure it made a nice holiday read. Far too light for me. For a Historical novel I would have liked to have learned more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I absolutely loved this book! I am a massive fan of Khaled Hosseini, and Memoirs of a Geisha, and am always in search of stories of a similar type. This was definitely it. Read more
Published 20 days ago by glitteringcloud
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book
The author beautifully recites this wonderful story set in the landscape of pre modern Iran. A time when culture, art, literature, poetry and religion co-existed peacefully. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pancake
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful present.
I was given this book for my birthday last year, but only got round to reading it this autumn. What a brilliant book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gale
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
It is set in Esfahan when it was the capital of Iran. All about carpet woving children and women. All about a woman's ambition and how it got her to triumph against all odds in the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Khatereh B Ghane
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
I enjoyed this book because it gave an insight into how life was in Iran and the way men and women were treated differently. Read more
Published 10 months ago by scollihoe
4.0 out of 5 stars A cultural insight
An interesting insight into another culture and the portrayal of women within it. It covers about 5 years of a young girl's life in Iran and the lie changing experiences she... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone, for a first novel it was an excellent read I certainly will read more of her books.
Published 12 months ago by Robina Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely tail
A lovely tail, very heart felt. A book you won't want to put down! In the same genre as a thousand splendid sons or Red tents.
Published 14 months ago by Claire Jane Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok
It was ok. Evan now after finishing the book two weeks ago I cannot say it gave me a feeling of a book I would read again or tell my friends.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs J Howarth
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS
Loved this book. Could hardly put it down. Was so sorry to finish it, but couldn't stop reading. Recommended. 5/5
Published 16 months ago by laura mcfadden
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