1Associate professor of English Literature, University of Tehran
2University of Tehran
This article draws attention to the ways in which Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers (2007), a historical novel set in 17th-century Iran, can be placed within the neo-orientalist discourse which informs many of the post-9/11 memoirs and novels set in contemporary Iran by women of the Iranian diaspora in the United States. Besides being a novel on Islam and Islamic rule—which makes it much timely for the post-9/11 period—The Blood of Flowers focuses on the question of women in Islamic/Iranian society, which furthers its consanguinity with the memoirs and novels written by women of the Iranian diaspora in the last decade. The argument made in this article is that Amirrezvani’s novel is, at least, as much about a distant and finished past of Iran as it is about contemporary Iran. In an attempt to retain the interest of the Western readers of diasporic Iranian literature by women, Amirrezvani has tried to retell the often repeated claims regarding women in present-day Iran in a new way, in the guise of a historical novel set in the distant past of Iran. This explains why in the narrative orientalist representations of Iran’s past history and neo-orientalist images of contemporary Iran are presented in an anachronistic coexistence.
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