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Tapestries of the Heart, by Nooshie Motaref

Authentic and Powerful novel explores the ever-changing effects of religion and politics in Iranian society, told through the lives of four generations of Persian women, inspired by the author’s personal experiences.

NEW YORK, NY – 06/21/2017 — ‘A persian woman had overcome all odds to leave her country behind. She was flying out of an oppressive dictatorship and into a free world. The ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ sign disappeared with a ding just as Baba’s voice resounded in her ears: “Whatever we do, that is our fate and destiny!”

A nine-year-old girl attracts the attention of a court enunuch, who wants to induct her into the king’s harem. Despite the girl’s tender years, most Iranian families would be thrilled to send their daughters to become concubines of the king, but young Zahra’s devoted mother refuses outright.

In a future generation, Mitra leaves her homelnad to study in the United States, returning to Iran with the aim of sharing the new knowledge and western ideas she has acquired and now values. However, when she returns, she realizes that Iran has actually regressed and that the government is enforcing a law that requires women to cover their heads. Mitra refuses to abide by this new dictate, and leaves Iran for good.

In her moving novel Tapestries of the Heart, Nooshie Motaref draws upon her own family’s history as she artfully weaves the stories of four different geneerations of Iranian women between 1896-1996. Through the eyes of Mitra, her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; Motaref explores Iran’s treatement of women as third class citizens, subjected to the iron will of a religious, patriarchal society. In Zahra’s ninteteenth century era, women had to abide by the strict Muslim rules. As the Pahlavi dynasty began to take root, Iranian society began to modernize, a movement which would have the greatest impact on the quality of life that women experienced – and the freedom’s they could now enjoy.

Motaref believes that many novels set in Iran do not realistically portray every-day Iranian culture and tradition, often are focusing on wealthy or royal families. Tapestries of the Heart is written for Western readers, partly to educate them on the Middle East and the Islamic faith, from the female perspective. Nooshie Motaref, reminds readers that women have always lived, loved and suffered for what they bleieve in and that such women, regardless of victimization or persecution have continued to fight, even when the odds have been completely stacked against them.

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