Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What's In A Name: Veil of Roses by Laura FItzgerald

Laura Fitzgerald's Veil of Roses was my "Plant Title" choice in the What's In A Name? Challenge. The story follows 27-year-old teacher Tamila Soroush (Tami) from the home she shares with her parents in Iran, to staying with her sister- whom she hasn't seen since she was a child- and her husband. She has a three month stay, during which she must wed to stay in the country. While she is set up with a string of "worthy" Persian men, Tami finds herself attracted to Ian, a very American Starbuck's employee, and her photography of the different sorts of freedom she observes around her. She also meets an instant support group of friends in her conversational English class at the university, including the wild German Eva and an abused Russian mail order bride. While enjoying her life in America, the dark cloud of having to find a husband in only three months to avoid being sent back to Iran hangs over her head.

From reading the back of the book, I wasn't expecting this book to be as, well... fluffy, as it was. Now, as bad as that may sound I don't mean it as an insult at all. Fitzgerald manages to portray a wealth of multi-dimensional characters in this slender volume, and Tami is a wonderfully flawed character. Her relationship with her older sister is loving but strained, and the sheer panic of having a man who's possibly very mentally damaged by pushed on you as an "eligible husband" feels very real.

While reading this book, I thought to myself more than once that this story could almost be one of Azar Nafisi student's in "Reading Lolita in Tehren"'s once she got to America- well, sans literary influence, I suppose. All in all "Veil of Roses" was a quick, light read that still packed an emotional and cultural punch. I laughed out loud more than once and smiled a lot, and I would definitely recommend this book if you've been looking into it.