Friday, July 13, 2012

Rereading Anahita’s Woven Riddle, Meghan Nuttall Sayres

“Baba, I have a riddle for you,” Anahita said, standing among the pregnant ewes corralled for an early spring shearing. “What give us flavor, color under our feet, and brings sunlight indoors?”

Set in Iran or Persia, Anahita’s Woven Riddle tells of a girl named Anahita who, when she learns of her father’s decision to marry her to the despicable khan, decides to hold a contest to see who can guess the riddle woven into her wedding quilt. I had read this book a few years ago, and was happy to see that it was published by Abram’s, so I picked up my own copy when I visited them in New York. Anyway, Anahita’s riddle contest draws many suitors from all parts of Iran. Meanwhile, the khan is furious that he has been rejected, and trouble is brewing in Iran.

This is an extremely interesting book, and also quite suspenseful. Anahita is a great character; she is trying to take control of her own fate, rather than just letting the men of her tribe decide. The nomadic way of life is very much emphasized here. Changes are sweeping through Iran. Some, like the khan, think that they are wonderful. Others, like the people of Anahita’s livestock-tending tribe, aren’t so sure. Meanwhile, the Russians are trying to take advantage of this uncertainty to invade Iran and seize some of its land for their czar. Persian culture is woven into this story like the riddle is woven into Anahita’s quilt.

You meet the suitors: Dariyoush, a young man of the village who Anahita has always viewed as like her older brother; Arash, a prince; Reza, a schoolteacher; the disgusting khan; and of course, many other, less important ones.

Read Anahita’s Woven Riddle:
  • if you like books set in Iran
  • if you are interested in books about change
  • if you like stories with a determined female protagonist
  • if you are interested in Persian culture
331 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!


  1. Wait! You can't end a review starting with an enigmatic riddle without answering it! What's the answer??!! You're going to kill me...

  2. Hello, Cleo, I am delighted to hear that you liked Anahita's Woven Riddle. Any author would love to know that their book has been re- read. A companion novel Night Letter is forthcoming with Nortia Press, November 2012. If you would like an advance review copy, please email me at or contact me through my website with your address. Thanks again for reviewing AWR. Meghan

  3. Sure, I would love to get a review copy of that! It sounds really interesting.