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Donna RifkindAnita Amirrezvani's first novel is about the costs and consolations of beauty, and is itself so picturesque that it often seems a striking variation on its own theme…The narrator recounts stories of women and children who spend years making knots until their limbs are twisted and their eyes worn out. "All our labors were in service of beauty," she muses, "but sometimes it seemed as if every thread in a carpet had been dipped in the blood of flowers." Is this art worth such sacrifice? Interestingly, the author, who is a former dance critic, argues most effectively for art's sake not through plot or character but through a series of artful tableaux: women congregating in a public bath; merchants haggling in the city's great bazaar; teeming slums and serene pleasure palaces; "turquoise and lemon domes basking in the morning light." Enduring and dynamic, these living pictures turn a conventional historical novel into a more rarefied object, like a fine old carpet.
—The Washington Post