Reading Group Guide
1. What is the significance of the novel’s title? What does it mean in terms of both the narrator and the story itself?
2. How would you describe the author’s writing style, and what do you think this style brings to the novel? Did you find anything striking or unusual about the way the story unfolds? Did it remind you of anything you have read before?
3. How much did you know about Iranian history and culture before reading this book? Did anything in the story strike you as completely unlike - or surprisingly reminiscent of - our lives today? What do you think you gain from reading a novel about a period in history, as opposed to a nonfiction historical account?
4. The author decided to leave the narrator anonymous, as is the tradition in many folktales. When, if ever, did you realize that you didn’t know the narrator’s name? What effect did the anonymity have on you as a reader? Does it matter whether or not we know a character’s name?
5. Why do you think the author chose to include a number of Iranian tales throughout the novel? What did these stories add to your understanding of the book and of Iranian culture as a whole? Do you have a favorite story?
6. Though The Blood of Flowers is set in a time and place that may be very foreign to most readers, it is a universal story about a girl reclaiming her life and coming into her own. In what ways is this a familiar story? In what ways does this story differ from your own experience or from other coming-of-age novels you have read?
7. The Blood of Flowers explores many different relationships in the narrator’s life — with her mother, her father, her uncle, her friend, and her husband, to name a few — all bringing out different sides of the narrator. Which relationship did you find the most compelling? Which did you find the most perplexing?
8. What is the meaning of the final tale, and why do you think the author chose to end the novel with this one? Is this the future you see for the narrator?
9. The intricate art of rugmaking is incredibly important to the story, and to the narrator herself. What do you think rugmaking represents with regard to the narrator aside from monetary benefit? What does it represent in the story itself?
The Blood of Flowers
- Publication Date: May 2, 2008
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books
- ISBN-10: 0316065773
- ISBN-13: 9780316065771