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“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani

The fact unknown to most of people is that as inspiration of Anita Amirrezvani’s first novel “Blood of Flowers” served a Persian carpet her father presented her with when she was a teenager. Looking at that carpet every day she imagines the life of a carpet maker and always wondered what it was like to create such beautiful things and what the actual life of carpet makers was like. One day she made up her mind to write a tale about a young woman who lived in Iran in the 17th century. The name of the girl is never revealed in this book. Once asked about this Anita Amirrezvani told that one morning she was sitting in her living room admiring her Iranian rugs, embroidery and miniature paintings an idea that none of these worked had a name of its creator on it, in other words you would never be able to find out who created the masterpiece which keeps your soul warm every day and causes admiration of your visitors. In Iran, just like in most countries of the world, the name of the craftsperson was considered unimportant that’s why his works were never recognized and properly appreciated. That’s why, when writing her story, Anita started thinking about those craftspeople, and she wondered what their life was like in general, what their stories were and whether they were still alive. By not naming the main heroine of her tale Anita aimed at making the works of unknown craftspeople acknowledgeable, because those were not robots or machines but people who lived, breathed, loved, hated and created things of an unbelievable beauty.

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It should be also mentioned that Anita Amirrezvani blended the story of her main heroine with some of the most popular Persian tales. The author states that Iranian culture is unknown to most of American people. In her novel she included seven Persian tales some of which were taken from the sources which are over a thousand years old.

Anita Amirrezvani’s novel is gracious and speaks to the human spirit. It is captivating and doesn’t leave a reader indifferent. It is a lyrically written historical novel which sets the reader into an adventure making him/her a part of the events going on in Iran in the 17th century. Though the novel contains a lot of historical events, its main purpose is not to educate the reader but to entertain him and let him get involved into the world of secrets and mysteries of the East. “The Blood of Flowers” is a fantastic novel and the author succeeded in making the reader interested in her magnificent piece of writing. Anita ties her words in the tale just like the craftspeople make complicated twists and turns while creating a Persian rug. “The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani is the brilliant tale of a young girl, a poor carpet weaver, thrown to the mercy of rich relatives when her father dies. It is utterly fascinating.” (“Our Critics Choose..” 50). Such novels as “The Blood of Flowers” never remain unnoticed as the mystery the author filled every page of her book with attracts the reader’s attention at once and the first lines “In the spring of the year that I was supposed to be married, a comet launched itself over the skies of my village. It was brighter than any comet we have ever seen, and more evil. Night after night as it crawled across our skies spraying its cold white seeds of sorrow, we tried to decipher the fearsome messages of the stars.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 7) intrigue the reader and make him/her continue reading further.

So, a young woman with no name lives in a small modest village together with her parents. It can be easily seen that their family is very friendly and the members treat each other very kindly: “My father smiled at my mother, and she brightened from within, for he loved her just the way she was. People always used to say that he treated her as tenderly as if she were a second wife.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 10). The whole village, being disturbed by the comet in the sky starts wondering whether it is a bad sign and what is going to happen this year if it is: “Many of the villagers had already noticed mysterious signs or heard of misfortunes caused by the comet. A plague had struck the north of Iran, killing thousands of people. An earthquake in Doogabad had trapped a bride in her home, suffocating her and her women guest moments before she was to join her groom. In my village, red insects that had never been seen before had swarmed over our crops.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 8).

The girl’s father was a rug maker and she learned this craft from him. But very soon after the comet signaled misfortune an accident happened in the field and the father got very injured. Here we can observe how united the family was and how friendly and helpful the fellow villagers were: “The news about my father spread quickly, and our friends began arriving to help. Kolsoom brought the water she had collected from a spring near a saint’s shrine that was known for its healing powers. Ibrahim took up a position in the courtyard and began reciting the Qur’an. Goli came by, her boy asleep in her arms, with hot bread and stewed lentils. I brewed tea to keep the warmth in everyone’s body. I knelt near my father and watched his face, praying for a flutter of his eyelids, even a grimace—anything that would assure me life remained in his body.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 14). But nothing helped and the father died soon. In this village and in those times it was considered a big grief when the father of the family died as he was the one who supported the family financially and without the head of the family it was doomed.

When the father died the girl and her mother remained alone without any dowry which in those times meant that a girl could not get married for she needed to have something either money or jewelries to give to her future husband if he agreed to take her as a wife. Guided by despair and lack of money the girl and her mother sold a beautiful turquoise rug the girl had once woven. For the money they got from the selling they went to Isfahan though it was very hard for them to leave their friends and their native village: “I looked around at all the kind faces I knew; at my friends and my mother’s friends, women who had been like aunts and grandmothers to me while I was growing up. I could not imagine what it would be like not to see them: Safa, with her face crinkled like an old apple; Kolsoom, thin and swift, renowned for her wisdom about herbs; and finally Goli, my truest friend.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 22). The girl’s uncle and his family were the only living relatives in this city and they took them into their home. The girl wondered how these people would be treating them and very soon her fears got confirmed: ““Are we servants now?” I asked my mother in alarm. She was stretched out on a bedroll, her eyes wide open.

“Not yet,” she replied, but I could see that she was worried about that very question.” (Anita Amirrezvani, 39). The uncle was glad that they arrived to the city and welcomed them in his home whereas his wife put them to the unpaid work of servants never forgetting to remind them that they were a burden to the family. The uncle was a carpet maker and the girl knowing this craft well discovered that she had still much to learn. The uncle agreed to teach her as her youth and desire to learn something new reminded him of those times when he was young. She learned writing and reading and became an excellent carpet designer, to some extent even better than her uncle. But with her prosperous career the dreams about getting married were abandoned. As a girl in Iran becomes older the chances for her getting married dimmed with each day. Having received a proposition from a wealthy man the girl ends up entering into a temporary marriage which is called sigheh. Such marriages have been a part of Iranian culture for hundreds of years and are considered normal there. Sighehs give a right to a man and a woman to get married and in case they have any children they will be considered legitimate. When entering into this marriage men pay women for that this is why it is up to them to decide how long the marriage will last. Some of such marriages last for an hour; sometimes two people remain together till the end of their lives.

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The girl had been married for some time but ended up being alone. She was nineteen and she was dreaming about a real marriage and starting a family which she was planning to have if it would not conflict with her carpet activities. And that’s where the story ends.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize once again that the story itself is very impressive and I never felt sorry for the time spent for reading it. When you finish reading you never stop thinking on the effect it produced on you as thoughts about this girl and the story of her life do not let you do that. I wish there was Part Two of this book to find out what the girl’s life would be like further, whether she got married or remained alone. There is only one thing that evoked negative emotions in me. Before reading the book I never knew about sighs and all I can say now is that things like this do not appeal to me. Being a Muslim I dislike an arranged marriage and the possibility of getting married only for some period of time thinking everyday that your marriage may end soon. It is just something unthinkable to me.

After reading the book I found out a lot about Iranian culture. There were things that I approved and some I disapproved but one thing I know for sure – “The Blood of Flowers” will remain in my memory forever as one of the most remarkable stories I have ever read.

Work Cited

  1. Anita Amirrezvani. The Blood of Flowers. Thorndike Press, 2007.
  2. “Our Critics Choose..”. New Statesman 2007: 50.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 22). “The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-blood-of-flowers-by-anita-amirrezvani/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 22). “The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani. https://studycorgi.com/the-blood-of-flowers-by-anita-amirrezvani/

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"“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani." StudyCorgi, 22 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/the-blood-of-flowers-by-anita-amirrezvani/.

1. StudyCorgi. "“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani." October 22, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-blood-of-flowers-by-anita-amirrezvani/.


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