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Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
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Gardens of Water (2008)

by Alan Drew

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3324333,233 (3.7)55
  1. 00
    The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine (Limelite)
    Limelite: The life of a modern Cairo Muslim family, heartwarming, full of conflict, but also of the ties that bind. More uplifting portrayal of Islam than in "Gardens of Water."
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This 2008 novel by an American who taught in Turkey is laid at the time of the 1999 Izmit earthquake, and has as its characters a Kurdish family living in the area of the earthquake and an American family trying to help the earthquake victims. But the 17-year-old son of the American family gets entangled with the 15-year-old daughter of the Kurdish family, to the horror of her parents. It is a classic problem, reminding me, I suppose illogically, of the unforgettable novel of A. J. Cronin, Hatter's Castle, which I read 19 Oct 1946. I could not help but be struck by the readiness of the Moslem parents to hate those who did not conform to their moral code, deplorable as their daughter's lapse was. ( )
  Schmerguls | Mar 7, 2014 |
Like many good books, this is a complex story with many layers and ideas. Although there were characters on all sides of these lines, they were all sympathetic and their points of view were valid and made sense. Sinan is caught between his inclinations, his fears, his faith, and the place he holds in society. In the end I think that is what I gleaned from this novel - that no one can just "be". There are always these outside pressure to be something else, to comply, to see the world from someone else's view. There is tragedy in this novel and also something approaching grace. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Sep 22, 2013 |
This is a very sad story about the effect of the war and a earthquake on a Kurdish family living in Turkey. It details the customs of a religious Muslim family and how they can divide a family. ( )
  AstridG | Sep 5, 2013 |
A really interesting story about a Muslim family coping with life in the aftermath of an earthquake while still dealing with the lingering effects of Sadam Hussein and the PUK fallouts. On top of that they struggle with an influx of do-good American Christians who want to help the physical needs of the people but also slip in some spiritual help. For a people used to their traditions and customs, the "new" way of the Americans and their culture is mind-boggling.

The book reminds people of the unseen reprecussions evangelism can have, but also highlights what hardships befall a town devasted by a natural disaster. This is a complex novel, because family dynamics also play a huge role in the story and the characters' interactions. There's a lot here to digest. A great story. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
This is an adult book, but two of the main characters are teens, a Muslim girl and an American boy, who develop a relationship during a disastrous earthquake and the difficult time afterwards. A reviewer called it kind of a Turkish Romeo and Juliet with Kurds and Americans- definitely something teens might be interested in reading. It was well written and a fun way to learn about another culture. ( )
  GirlsonFire | Mar 25, 2013 |
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In the rush of bodies to board the ferry leaving Istanbul for Golcuk, Sinan lost his son.
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Book description
Powerful, emotional, and beautifully written, Alan Drew's stunning first novel brings to life two unforgettable familiesone Kurdish, one Americanand the sacrifice and love that bind them together. In a small town outside Istanbul,Sinan Basioglu, a devout Muslim, and his wife, Nilufer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son's coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, irem, resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents. For her, there was no such festive observanceonly the wrapping of her head in a dark scarf and strict rules that keep her hidden away from boys and her friends. But even before the night of the celebration, irem has started to change, to the dismay of her Kurdish father. What Sinan doesn't know is that much of her transformation is due to her secret relationship with their neighbor, Dylan, the seventeen-year-old American son of expatriate teachers. irem sees Dylan as the gateway to a new life, one that will free her from the confines of conservative Islam. Yet the young man's presence and Sinan's growing awareness of their relationship affirms Sinan's wish to move his family to the safety of his old village, a place where his children would be sheltered from the cosmopolitan temptations of Istanbul, and where, as the civil war in the south wanes, he hopes to raise his children in the Kurdish tradition. But when a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. Losing everything, they are forced to forage for themselves, living as refugees in their own country. And their survival becomes dependent on their American neighbors, to whom they are unnervingly indebted. As love develops between irem and Dylan, Sinan makes a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal that will change everyone's lives forever. The deep bonds among father, son, and daughter; the tension between honoring tradition and embracing personal freedom; the conflict between cultures and faiths; the regrets of age and the passions of youththese are the timeless themes Alan Drew weaves into a brilliant fiction debut.
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"In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan Basioglu, a devout Kurdish Muslim, and his wife, Nilufer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son's coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, Irem, resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents. For her, there was no such festive observance - only the wrapping of her head in a dark scarf and strict rules that keep her hidden away from boys. But even before the night of the celebration, Irem has started to change. What the dismayed Sinan doesn't know is that much of her transformation is due to her secret relationship with their neighbor Dylan, the seventeen-year-old son of expatriate American teachers." "Irem sees Dylan as the gateway to a new life, one that will free her from the confines of conservative Islam. Yet the young man's presence and Sinan's growing awareness of their relationship affirms Sinan's wish to move his family to the safety of his old village, a place where his children would be sheltered from the cosmopolitan temptations of Istanbul, and where as the civil war in the south wanes, he hopes to raise his children in the Kurdish tradition." "But after a massive earthquake, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. Losing everything, they are forced to forage for themselves, living as refugees in their own country. And their survival now depends on their American neighbors, to whom they are unnervingly indebted. As love develops between Irem and Dylan, Sinan makes a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal that will change everyone's lives forever."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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