Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres

What would you do if you were promised in marriage to someone you disliked? For Anahita, a nomadic weaver living in Iran in the 19th century, the answer is a riddle--literally.
When she learns that her father wants her to wed the leader of their tribe, a man she finds repulsive, Anahita becomes determined to have a hand in her own fate. She devises a contest, in which suitors must guess the meaning of a riddle woven into her wedding carpet. Her idea has unexpected consequences for those around her, and draws the attention of an extraordinary group of men, including a diplomat, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince. Who will match Anahita in this game of wits? Or, more important, win her heart?
This whole book was a treat. It took a little bit longer to read as a book of its size (300-plus pages) than usual, but it wasn't necessarily slow; it was very rich with details about Persian culture and offset very nicely with elements of poetry from that area and time period. Anahita was likable and, even with the culture and time gap, relatable. I loved that it focused on the country in a time where women were starting to reach out for more freedom. The perspective shifted enough to get a nicely well-rounded view of the country and its situation, as well as the suitors. Each character--even the minor ones--was enormously unique and charismatic. Well, except for the ones that were deliberately written to be jerks. Anyway, if you're at all interested in Middle Eastern cultures, I couldn't recommend it more. A beautifully written book, all around. It's at Kettleson and Sitka High.
(By the way, now that school's started, I'm going to be updating on the weekends from now on. Just FYI).