Like the fine and intricate Persian rugs found in many Iranian households, when the strong Persian sunlight penetrates through the stained glass of the Orussi windows and spreads over the floor every knot in the rug seems to come alive and begin to move; the trees sway with the breeze and the nightingale’s song rises from the four corners of the rug.
This epic novel encapsulates the massive upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century, including the Second World War and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, from a point of view that the English-speaking readership rarely glimpses.
The book’s heroine, Kahnoum, is born in the courts of Persia’s Qajar Dynasty in 1900, but is forced to leave the comfort of her aristocratic home and flee for Europe during the Constitutional Revolution of 1906. Her teenage years are marked by her struggles, family tragedy and her uncertain future. Ever resourceful, she faces her ordeals with compassion, grace and a childlike sense of humour. The twists and turns in Khanoum’s life make for a compelling read, whilst at the same time shedding light on traditional Persian customs of birth, marriage and death, still followed in modern-day Iran.
This book will greatly appeal to those who enjoy epic novels, and to those who want to learn more about the upheavals of twentieth century Europe, viewed from a unique perspective.
Masoud Behnoud is a prominent Iranian journalist, historian and writer, whose work has been banned in Iran since Ahmadinejad took power. He has to-date written six books on the contemporary history of Iran. In The Knot in the Rug he expresses pride in his country, beautifully articulating the joyfulness of his people and the richness of their culture.