Thursday, February 11, 2010

15. The Rug Merchant by Meg Mullins

The Rug Merchant tells the tale of Ushman, an forty-year-old Iranian expatriot who came to New York to create a better life for him and his wife who remains in Iran caring for his ailing mother.  After three years, Ushman has established a successful business selling expensive Persian rugs.  The reader is only introduced to one, Mrs. Roberts, who seems to have an extraordinary interest in this merchant.  I found her, at best, odd.  After Ushman's wife declares that she is pregant and divorcing him for another man, he begins haunting the airport, imagining the reunion that will now never happen.  But he meets Stella, a nineteen-year-old college student.  She is beautiful, carefree and very American.  The two become lovers in a way that I found hard to believe; but it does illustrate Ushman's great loneliness and openness to other possibilities.  He is very realistic about the relationship which probably lends to what I felt was an anticlimatic ending.  As you can probably tell, I didn't love this book.  While I found Mullins writing beautiful; the story itself fell flat and left me unmoved.  I did like the way she presented how the cultural differences of Ushman's old and new life affect so many of his actions; but, in the end, I found I didn't care that much about him. 
Rating:  3

Catching up Challenge


  1. Sorry it wasn't a better experience for you. I may get it from the library and see if it grabs me.

  2. I agree with your appraisal of this book. I'm curious what I wrote in my review. It's been years ago so I really don't remember, but I do remember the parts of the book you mentioned in your review.

  3. Think I'll pass on this one. I don't think I'd care for the storyline much, either.

  4. I like the initial premise of this book, but based on your review it may not be worth the read. Hope you enjoy your next one!

  5. I just googled this book and found your blog.

    I find it surprising that you found their love affair was hard to believe. Having grown up in NYC that kind of short lived love affair between people of different cultures is very common.

    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book I thought it was a wonderful and secret view into the experience and painful struggle of the modern day immigrant disconnect from his life and world left behind. Living in a new culture and trying to make sense of who he is and has become as a result of exposing himself to this new world. He can never return to his own culture as the same man he left. This is common experience for so many. Once you've lived how can you go back and then you must ask yourself: Who and where will you go if you can't go back because you are forever changed. You've come of age.

    I read it so many years ago and these characters still remain with me.