The other library book I got a week or two ago was The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani. I read it in a few bursts, but once I really got into it I think I read the entire last 150 pages in one stint. A winding good yarn, it was, set in 17th century Iran and centering around the life of a young unnamed girl. A comet bodes evil for the following year, and it seems as though everything that’s going to go wrong due to the comet goes wrong for the girl and her family. After tragedy strikes, she and her mother must leave their village and live with distant relatives in a big city. During the course of a year, the girl makes a friend, grows up in more ways than one, and discovers her calling, rug knotting and design, a passion both shared and encouraged by her uncle.
Prior to reading this book, I knew nothing about 17th century Iran or about what life might have been like for a girl growing up in this time. The most interesting aspects of the story involved the cutural and historical details, though some of the events seem a little far-fetched – perhaps to echo the stories told as legends throughout the book. According to the author’s note, most of the stories used in the book are retellings of age-old tales, woven in amongst the plot of the book. There’s sex, there’s poverty, there’s description of beautiful Persian rugs and how they come to be. It’s not exactly a difficult read, but it was enjoyable and I was satisfied in the end. Not one I’ll re-read, but definitely worthwhile for all the cutural and historical stuff if nothing else.