January 5, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Virgin's Knot by Holly Payne


This is the tale of Nurdane, a 22-year-old rug weaver that the villagers believe has mystical power that she uses to create them. When Nurdane was a child she lost her mother and was crippled by Polio. She lives in an isolated village in Turkey in the 1950s. She is physically weak, but yet she is determined. She weaves rugs for the other young women in the village before their weddings, one of which Nurdane will probably never have because of her condition. Between her father, her doctor, and an anthropologist who comes into the village in search of a Goddess, Nurdane has to find her own way to fulfill her destiny as a woman.

Payne managed to blend myth, history, tradition, and longing into a story that captured me. I dare say there were a few too many plot lines at times, and that made it unnecessarily complicated, but they were all interesting stories. I felt for Nurdane and wanted what she wanted and identifying with characters is the main part of a good story. I also liked learning about the culture there and how isolated it was from the rest of the world- as if time had stopped in that village.

I found it a good book overall, and one of several that has me continually searching for more stories featuring people from different cultures.

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