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7 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Veil of Roses

by

Veil of Roses Cover

ISBN13: 9780553383881
ISBN10: 0553383884
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

In her compelling debut novel, Laura Fitzgerald captures the cross-cultural experience of one young woman who leaves the oppressive confines of Iran to experience the intoxicating freedom of America.

Tamila Soroush wanted it all. But in Iran, hope is a dangerous thing for a girl. That’s why a one-way plane ticket to America is the greatest gift Tami’s parents could have given her on her twenty-seventh birthday. Getting to America seems easy enough, but figuring out a way to stay for an extended period of time proves to be a whole other matter. Hoping never to return to the suffocating life that awaits her back in Iran, Tami must find a husband in the three short months she has in the United States. However, dealing with feelings she has never before experienced and desires she never imagined could be fulfilled, Tami must decide exactly how much she is willing to give up in order to stay in America.

With a humorous and truly intuitive voice, Fitzgerald illuminates the way in which Tami drinks in the freedom that every American girl experiences–and takes for granted–on a daily basis. Her writing emits a remarkable compassion and understanding for a young woman caught between worlds.

The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Laura Fitzgerald’s Veil of Roses.

1. Discuss the storytelling approach used in Veil of Roses. Did you find Tami’s first person narrative effective or limiting in any way?

2. Compare and contrast the two Soroush sisters, Tami and Maryam. How do their outlooks on marriage differ? Do you think Tami believes Maryam takes advantage of all of the liberties that are available to her now that she is settled in America?

3. Discuss the significance and the meaning of the veil within the novel. At one point in the story, Tami explains, “My bedroom has always been my refuge…. It is the only place I did not have to wear some sort of veil, some sort of mask…. It has only been alone at night that I get any sense of who I am, of who I might become. It is alone at night that I have found my greatest peace.” (page 109) How does this passage represent so much of Tami’s Iranian life?

4. Tami becomes close friends with the somewhat eccentric people in her English as a second language class. From all over the world, these people have had different experiences in America. Besides a better understanding of English, what does Tami learn from these daily classes and the people in them? What, in turn, is she able to teach her peers?

5. Discuss Tami’s relationship with Eva. What is the root of the frustration that surfaces between them at times. Is Eva being naïve when she makes suggestions about how Iranian women should act in certain circumstances? Is Tami overly defensive in these situations? Why or why not?

6. Besides the people in her class, Tami also makes a connection with one of her neighbors, Rose McClellan. Though Rose is of a considerable age, she is not married and never has been. As Tami stares at the sign hanging above Rose’s door, which reads ‘La Case de Rosa’, she thinks, “I like Rose. Unmarried Rose. I wonder if she lives in that big house all alone. I wonder what she does all day by herself. Does she play loud music? Paint her toenails while watching television? … Does she sleep in the middle of the bed?” How is Rose’s lifestyle as a single and happy woman somewhat shocking and bewildering to Tami? What impact does Rose’s lifestyle have on Tami’s mode of thinking?

7. While in Tucson, Tami is able to pursue her passion for photography. She sets about capturing on film “everyday acts of rebellion” that she sees women committing all around her. What are some examples of these acts of rebellion and why are they so significant to her?

8. In the United States, it is a sound assumption that love is a prerequisite to marriage. However in order to stay in America, Tami may have to forfeit this privilege and concede to an arranged agreement. Considering Nadia’s situation, do you think giving up this choice is worth gaining the other potential freedoms?

9. Maryam’s husband, Ardishir, seems to be the voice of reason throughout the novel. Why and in what ways is his character’s role essential to the story?

10. The two Persian men that present themselves as possible husbands for Tami, Haroun and Masoud, prove to ultimately be impossible matches. What are the downfalls to these two arrangements?

11. How is Tami’s actual wedding significant to the underlying themes of the book as a whole? Not only does the ceremony exclude any and all Persian traditions, but she also decides to forgo wearing any type of veil. What do you make of this scene?

12. There is reference to the phrase “The bride has gone to pick some flowers” during different parts of the book. Discuss what this Persian saying means and how it becomes ingrained in Tami’s mind as she begins to truly root her independence.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Jennmarie68, October 30, 2012 (view all comments by Jennmarie68)
This was a pretty good book. The story was intriguing and I wanted Tami to get her permanent new life in America. The characters were colorful - Tami meets so many people with such different personalities it was interesting on a human condition level to see them interact. And even though Tami is a bit on the "wild" side for an Iranian girl - she has no idea what to expect from her new life in America. Her "wild" side is nothing in comparison to what her American friends do on a daily basis.

As a main character Tami was great. She was trying to learn how to fit-in in a culture that she'd only dreamed about becoming a part of. Even though she desperately tries to shed her Iranian lifestyle, there are parts of it that she struggles with. Even when she starts to open up to a new idea her sister - who tries to keep her "pure" pushes her back to some of the things she wants to break out of. Her only hope is to find a man who will marry her quickly. But that becomes a struggle in itself - she's too Iranian for some and too American for others. Her whole trip to America is a struggle for her to find her identity and where she fits in to her new life. The supporting characters made Tami's story that much better. But all the different influences pull Tami along in a way that leaves her confused and frustrated. But she does make some great friends and gets herself into a few funny situations. Well, funny from the outside, at the time Tami was mortified by some of the things she experiences.

While this is a story about finding love, and marriage (not necessarily in the same person) I think it is more of a look into American culture and how overwhelming it can be for someone who's not used to the freedom America offers. Tami's first interaction on her own in a store is just one example of how different things can be. When she accepts a free sample and then the cops just happen to show up at the store she's at, she panics... It was amusing but it also made me feel kind of sad that Tami was made to feel like she was doing something wrong by doing something so common. Then when her friend from her ESL class Eva takes her on a shopping trip the differences between cultures is even more apparent. Eva isn't American, but she's adapted to the lifestyle extremely well, and while good she has good intentions she ends up putting Tami in quite a few uncomfortable situations.

This was a well written book. I enjoyed the story and I also enjoyed being able to see the American culture from the eyes of someone who's trying to find where she belongs in our culture.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jennmarie68, October 30, 2012 (view all comments by Jennmarie68)
This was a pretty good book. The story was intriguing and I wanted Tami to get her permanent new life in America. The characters were colorful - Tami meets so many people with such different personalities it was interesting on a human condition level to see them interact. And even though Tami is a bit on the "wild" side for an Iranian girl - she has no idea what to expect from her new life in America. Her "wild" side is nothing in comparison to what her American friends do on a daily basis.

As a main character Tami was great. She was trying to learn how to fit-in in a culture that she'd only dreamed about becoming a part of. Even though she desperately tries to shed her Iranian lifestyle, there are parts of it that she struggles with. Even when she starts to open up to a new idea her sister - who tries to keep her "pure" pushes her back to some of the things she wants to break out of. Her only hope is to find a man who will marry her quickly. But that becomes a struggle in itself - she's too Iranian for some and too American for others. Her whole trip to America is a struggle for her to find her identity and where she fits in to her new life. The supporting characters made Tami's story that much better. But all the different influences pull Tami along in a way that leaves her confused and frustrated. But she does make some great friends and gets herself into a few funny situations. Well, funny from the outside, at the time Tami was mortified by some of the things she experiences.

While this is a story about finding love, and marriage (not necessarily in the same person) I think it is more of a look into American culture and how overwhelming it can be for someone who's not used to the freedom America offers. Tami's first interaction on her own in a store is just one example of how different things can be. When she accepts a free sample and then the cops just happen to show up at the store she's at, she panics... It was amusing but it also made me feel kind of sad that Tami was made to feel like she was doing something wrong by doing something so common. Then when her friend from her ESL class Eva takes her on a shopping trip the differences between cultures is even more apparent. Eva isn't American, but she's adapted to the lifestyle extremely well, and while good she has good intentions she ends up putting Tami in quite a few uncomfortable situations.

This was a well written book. I enjoyed the story and I also enjoyed being able to see the American culture from the eyes of someone who's trying to find where she belongs in our culture.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
viri082007, September 30, 2008 (view all comments by viri082007)
it is a great book!
it has a little bit of everything.
great love story and also funny.
loved the way that the two cultures are compared.
its been the best book i have read so far!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553383881
Author:
Fitzgerald, Laura
Publisher:
Bantam Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Self-actualization (psychology)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20061231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.16x5.44x.69 in. .53 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

Veil of Roses Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 320 pages Bantam Books - English 9780553383881 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this pat but sweet attempt at FOB (fresh off the boat) chick lit, Tamila Soroush, a 27-year-old Iranian woman, flies to Tucson, Ariz., to stay with her older sister, Maryam (whom she hasn't seen in 15 years), and Maryam's orthopedic surgeon husband, Ardishir. Tami is there for a three-month stay, courtesy of a visa arranged by her loving parents, who want her to marry an Iranian with American citizenship and stay in the States. Tami concurs with this plan: 'being married is a small price to pay if I can stay in the land of Opportunity.' But on her way to her ESL class, Tami meets Ike, an affable American working at Starbucks while he raises money to open his own chain of coffee shops. Potential Iranian fianc setups move forward while Tami and Ike's mutual feelings deepen. As she nears the end of her visa, Tami faces some tough choices. The plot is disposable and the agenda transparent, but watching Tami find her voice through such small comforts as being able to sit alone in a house, walk to school unescorted or buy lingerie with her sister will leave readers rooting for her. (Jan.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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