Forever Under Construction

The Blood of Flowers

Posted in Books, Carpet, Craft, Iran by homeyra on June 11, 2007

… or the art of storytelling

By Anita Amirrezvani
Read an excerpt
or listen: Shohreh Aghdashloo‘s voice

A young girl comes of age as a carpetmaker’s apprentice in 17th century Iran: “Everything about Iran-born, former Northern California dance critic Anita Amirrezvani’s first novel is meticulously designed: its nine-year creation; its hypnotic cadence and considered approach to plot and characters inspired by Iranian tales and its immaculately researched historical detail, down to its unnamed narrator. It’s all crafted, as the author’s note indicates, “in tribute to the anonymous artisans of Iran.” … read more
San Francisco Chronicle
, Christine Thomas, June 10, 2007.

Excerpts from Q & A (emphasis are mine):

… One morning when I was looking around my living room at my Iranian rugs, embroidery, and miniature paintings, it occurred to me that none of the work was signed. As in most parts of the world, the identity of the craftsperson was considered unimportant and went unrecorded and unrecognized … my thoughts turned to the lives of these artists, and I began to wonder where they came from, what their stories were, and whether they were still alive … my goal was to acknowledge the labor of the “unnamed craftsperson” whose work has endured through the centuries…

… seventeenth-century women would have been quite strong in their own spheres … one of my key concerns in writing the novel was to portray women as they might have seen themselves

I avoid the term “weavers” because Iranian rugs are typically created knot by knot, as opposed to being woven through an intersection of warp and weft threads …

Shah Abbas … loved crafts … To fund the state coffers, he created workshops for carpet making, since hand-loomed silk rugs were starting to become known and admired in Europe… Some of the greatest carpets ever made were produced in Iran during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries…

Many travelers to Iran in the pre-modern era reported with surprise that illiterate peasants could recite extremely long passages of poetry. The place of poetry cannot be overestimated in the culture; it has always been considered the highest art …

… After so many years of blackout when it comes to Iran, I thought people might be interested in learning things about it that go beyond the politics of the moment … I wanted to give readers insight into the soul of the culture: the wedding customs, the cuisine, the life of women, the craft of rugmaking, and the uses of traditional storytelling — the things that have made Iran what it is and Iranians who they are. In doing so, I hope to get beyond the headlines and broaden the dialogue about Iran.

Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in San Francisco. The blood of flowers is her first novel. Anita has worked as an arts journalist and dance critic in San Francisco.

Update another review: Layer carpets, layered stories by Jessica Yadegaran, Contra Costa Times,


13 Responses

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  1. peoplesgeography said, on June 11, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Homeyra, this looks great and by all accounts sounds like a magnificent historical novel. It surely takes a real talent to write a novel set three centuries earlier. I’ll have to look out for this or order it online. Your link to the author’s website also features an audio excerpt read by the mellifluous voice of Shohreh Aghdashloo.

  2. homeyra said, on June 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

    I noticed the audio but didn’t get into it. Thanks for pointing it out. Will add the links.

    Just heard it. This is a delicious short excerpt!

  3. 99 said, on June 12, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Oh, great. My reading pile is getting so tall it’s about to topple already. Maybe I should start stacking it in the guestroom. 😛

  4. […] writes about a new book:The Blood of Flowers written by Anita Amirrezvani.The blogger writes a young girl […]

  5. musicalchef said, on June 13, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Sounds like a great book! My pile’s getting big too.

  6. homeyra said, on June 15, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Don’t talk to me about big reading pile 🙂
    In addition there are bookmarks … I haven’t read this book, but there is something attractive about it. Maybe if any of you read it, will tell us if it is as good as it seems.

  7. Bluebear2 said, on June 18, 2007 at 3:00 am


    I’ve been away from your fabulous pages far too long. This does sound like a interesting book.

    If only everyone would seek insight into the soul of the culture this world would be such a finr place!

  8. Bluebear2 said, on June 18, 2007 at 3:01 am

    “finer” – lost an e.

  9. homeyra said, on June 18, 2007 at 4:42 am

    BB2 🙂 great to see you back.

  10. Bluebear2 said, on June 18, 2007 at 3:39 pm


  11. Curtis said, on June 19, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I’ll seek out this book, thanks for the recommendation.

  12. homeyra said, on June 20, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    🙂 I hope it is as good as it seems. Please let me know!

  13. […] در مورد کتاب “خون گلها” نوشته آنیتا رضوانی می نویسد (انگلیسی). داستان این کتاب سرگذشت دختری است که در قرن 17 […]

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