ANAHITA’S WOVEN RIDDLE by Meghan Nuttall Sayres


Age Range: 10 & up
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A richly textured, carefully researched novel of a young girl’s quest for the perfect husband in early 20th-century Iran. Headstrong, talented Anahita is terrified of marriage to someone who will not understand her riddles, her carpets or her desire to learn, so she convinces the mullah and her father to allow her to hold a contest: She will marry the man who guesses the riddle woven into her wedding carpet. Chapters alternate among Anahita and several of her suitors, including the wealthy, spoiled Khan, a half-nomad prince and a poor scholar. These interwoven threads present a portrait of Iran that brings to life the elements of Anahita’s world and illuminates the complex relationships of the many different tribes and customs that are part of modern Iran’s heritage. The use of different dialectic differences in English to convey Farsi language patterns (the Khan sounds like a caricatured English Colonial) distracts. However, excellent use of Sufi poetry and a strong cast of characters make this more than memorable. Romantic, delightful and educational too! (glossary, author’s note, references) (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8109-5481-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2006