"The Blood of Flowers" by Anita Amirrezvani

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"The Blood of Flowers" presents us with the story of an unnamed female narrator trying to make her way into adulthood in the Iranian capital of Isfahan in the 1620s. Our protaganist has a gift for designing and making, or "knotting" carpets, and after losing her father at fourteen, she must move from her native village to the home of her uncle in the dazzling capital.

Our heroine suffers at the hands of her family, her friends, and the restrictive mores of the time. Yet she and her mother prevail, as a combination of events makes it possible for her to pursue her vocation to design and make carpets fit for the palace.

I felt as though our protaganist was a real and believable character, with the one objection that she was given a few too many 21st-century traits and ambitions. Characterizations are a strong suit for Ms. Amirrezvani, starting with her heroine. The plot was too contrived in places - never moreso than when her best friend - whom I could barely stomach, and who continued to enjoy our beloved carpet-weaver's devotion after so many cruel betrayals (inexplicable!) - this "friend" winds up marrying the man who had taken the narrator as a concubine. And the outcome held no surprises; it was as predictable as nightfall.

Presumably Ms. Amirrezvani aimed to show Isfahan at its zenith, and it was a good college try on her part. This fiction, though, was just barely polished enough to bring it off.
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