Hiya everyone! This is my last post for Clink Street’s Summer Blogival- what a great month its been with such great giveaways, reviews and guest posts on SO many amazing books.
Today I’m bringing you this award winning book by Nooshie Motaref and how she came to write this novel in the first place, as well as my own thoughts on it too. I hope you enjoy reading and will want to pick this book up for yourselves!
“Having grown up in Iran, my veins carry the tradition of storytelling as life’s blood. From ancient times, the Persian oral tradition has been interwoven with the literature of this country, and it continues to this day. As a little girl, I remember being mesmerized by a story teller who enacted epics from The Book of Kings (Shahnameh) in our streets, or teahouses. At age five, I sat in the first row and, enthralled by this old dervish’s facial expressions, I drifted into my dreams. Then the sharp clapping of his hands demolished my dream world–an unsettling experience.
Binding with family members is another reason I choose to write. In Iran, the unity of family is very important; especially in my family. By spending time with them, I gleaned the imperative of continuity of family tradition. For example, one day I asked my grandmother, “Why does Aziz, my great-grandmother, have so many wrinkles?” She took offense and in an inflamed tone said, “Don’t see her wrinkles today! Remember her beauty, so spellbinding that a eunuch of the court wanted her for our king!” I learned that my grandmother was disappointed in life. She had given birth to ten children, and over and over she expressed to me, “I have not tasted life! My husband never cared how I felt!” However, she had found happiness by reciting poetry of Hafiz and Rumi.
My dear father again and again declared to me, “It’s important for you to be an independent person; even though, you’re a girl. There is always time to get married and have children.” And as the years went by, and my life in the Western world took shape, I started missing these bonds; especially when a family member died. To satisfy my melancholy was to give them life on paper. By creating them, I savored what they went through. I felt how Aziz had to be shaken like a “willow caught on the storm” when she heard a strange man inclined to take her to harem.
Now, as a grandmother, I hope this book will play a part in educating and informing the generations to come. As a result of being married to an American, I find my son and his children are unfamiliar with that part of the world. By writing this book, my wish is to remove the veil from my native land and reveal the true resilience and courage of not only my family; but also the Iranian society.
All in all, my book is not only my family’s story, but a story of a nation. This novel is about commoners who arise and fight for what they believe in. These four generations of women lived, loved and endured. Their peaceful battle generation after generation bore fruit. As a young woman, I have been able to battle all adversaries, to leave my birthplace, and to carry the continuity of their lives to a free country. Unbelievable!”
This award winning novel portrays four generations of Persian women over a span of one hundred years. It depicts the effects of religion and politics-ever changing in Iranian society. Tapestries stands out as a true representation of the cycle of life. The destinies of these characters are interwoven with many threads and the events and consequences throughout have a major impact on their lives. Throughout the generations, these women lived, loved, and fought for what they believed in. Though it was a struggle, they battled and endured when the odds were almost completely against them.
When first hearing about this book it very much reminded me of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul where we hear the different lives of several women, and in a way this story wasn’t too different only their lives spread about the immediate past 100 years in Iran- a country and culture I am not so familiar with myself.
Learning about the cultural and historical background of Iran and these women living within the country drew me in to the story.
Nooshie gives subtle hints of how different women react to their societies explored into their consequences, disagreements and lifetime goals. Again this was a great demonstration of how women lived their lives whilst quietly coping and accepting their place in society.
Tapestries was a heart-warming story to read, and reading how gender inequality in this part of the world in particular is right at the focal point which made it interesting and rather frustrating too. I loved reading Nooshie’s thoughts throughout and how much of a deep thinker she is, and I’m interested in reading more of her writing and hope that her characters expand into something more too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nooshie Motaref, has gone through many challenging life experiences unlike many women from the Middle East. She grew up in Persia, and studied in four countries- Iran, Germany, Switzerland and United States. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in American Literature and Folklore from Florida Stare University. Her dissertation is a proof of Carl Jung’s theory, the “Collective Unconscious,” through Persian fairy tales and folktales.
She has taught university courses on humanities, literature and critical thinking. In addition, she is certified by the Conflict Resolution Program Act to promote peacemaking efforts worldwide. In March of 2014, she presented one of her articles, “Women and Islam,” did a conference, Women and Education at Oxford University in Oxford, England.
She frequently gives speeches on several subjects related to her birthplace including its culture, traditions and religion. Her purpose is to familiarise Western audiences with Iranian life and ethnicity.