June 10, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge: Tapestry

Chosen as an ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults 2007 by The Young Adult Library Services of America as well as a Winter 2006-2007 Children's Picks List by Book Sense, Anahita's Woven Riddle is a fabulous 19th century Persian romance.

Wanting to do a thousand other things other than marry the village khan -- including apprenticing herself to her granduncle to be a dyer, witty, unique weaver Anahita hits on the idea of posing a riddle contest to find herself a mate. She wants to do what's right for her father, the village kadkhuda or leader, and to keep the family name unsullied, but she also wants a voice of her own. Though the lives of her mother and grandmother were merry, Anahita is uneasy at the idea of marriage. There are so many choices, and so many other things to do!

Coming up with the riddle contest buys her time, but buys her more attention that she expected. There are Russian soldiers nibbling at the borders of their land, and the shah seems ineffective and disinterested in the traditional lives of the nomads. Each of Anahita's suitors come from several different walks of life, and their stories allow readers to see different parts of historical Iran, weaving a historical tale out of many varied strands. The beautiful poetry of Rumi and other Sufi poets is sprinkled throughout, giving the novel an otherworldly beauty, and allowing readers to see the beauty in the history of the lands of the Near East.

Which of Anahita's suitors can best help her be a part of Iran's changing times? And whose name will she finally embroider next to hers in her marriage qali? An unusual historical novel in which for once a girl has her own say about a marriage! Very enjoyable!

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