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Book Club Kits: Anahita's Woven Riddle

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

In this enchanting historical novel, a nomad in nineteenth-century Iran takes fate into her own hands when her father promises her in marriage to a man she dislikes. Anahita convinces her father to let her hold a contest in which potential suitors must correctly answer the riddle she has woven into her wedding carpet. A diplomat, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince compete in Anahita's battle of wits for the heart of this extraordinary girl.

Discussion Questions

  • Anahita’s Woven Riddle takes place over 100 years ago, and  changing technology is the cause of many changes in Persia at the time. What advancements in technology are causing the Nomadic tribes to settle? Is the change inevitable, or is it possible for the old ways and the new to co-exist peacefully?

  • Describe Anahita’s relationship with her father. Did it surprise you that she was able to express herself freely with her father? How does their relationship change as the story progresses?

  • What do you think of the idea of arranged marriage? Why would Anahita’s father, who loves his daughter very much, want to choose her husband for her? Why would he want her to marry at such a young age?

  • Consider Anahita’s mother, grandmother and cousin Shirin. Do you think it is true that their worth and ability to contribute to their tribe’s well-being comes solely from their status as married women? Do their marriages give them any advantages that Anahita doesn’t have?

  • What previous idea did Anahita have that caused uproar in her community? What did she learn from this incident

  • Why was it so important to Anahita to choose her own husband? Was it courageous or selfish for her to pursue this desire, despite the Kahn’s actions? Should she have married the Kahn to make life easier for her tribe?

  • Seeing how nervous Anahita is on the day of the contest, knowing that anybody — young or old, rich or poor, handsome or ugly, nice or mean — could enter the contest, would you rather consent to an arranged marriage in which your parents choose your spouse, or would you take your chances in a contest in which you create the rules, but in which anyone could enter? 

  • At one point, Maman Bozorg suggests to Anahita that since she can’t be absolutely certain of the outcome of her choices, then it doesn’t make a difference which path she chooses.  Think about this with regard to Anahita, as well as some of the choices you’ve had to make in your life.  Do you agree with this philosophy?  Why or why not

  • Do you feel that Anahita has matured enough by the end of the story for marriage and for creating a family of her own in a new place? 

  • Do you agree with Anahita’s choice of husband? Why or why not?