Young Turk

Young Turk

A Novel

Book - 2005
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From a writer whose international acclaim can now spread to US shores comes a wise, craftily spun, and spinetinglingly erotic tale of love, courage, and the forging of conscience--a novel of startling integrity and beauty.
Publisher: New York : Arcade Pub., 2005
Edition: 1st North American ed
ISBN: 155970764X (alk. paper)
Branch Call Number: FIC FARHI
Characteristics: 391 p. ; 22 cm

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Cdnbookworm Feb 14, 2013

This is a novel made up of thirteen connected stories, each story with a different narrator. The time period ranges from the 1940s to 1959, with not all stories clear on the exact time they take place. The age of the narrator also increases as the stories progress, with the first storyteller Rifat at nine years old as he begins his tale, and the last Ahmet an older man near the end of his life. Most of them are told by young Turks in their teens or early twenties. The stories are about their lives, happy and sad, political and personal, but all full of the experience of life. Most storytellers are male, but not all and women are portrayed as interesting people in their own right throughout. The Turks here are of various ethnicity and religion and one prevailing note is that we are all human, and the strongest Turkey consists of a diverse mix of Turks, a message that the leader Ataturk himself felt true. These stories have passion and an honesty of feeling that captures the reader.
I also learned some things about Turkish history that I didn't know. One example is how during the Christian battles in Spain, Turkey offered haven to all those who were oppressed, both Jews and Muslims. And again during the rise of Hitler, Turkey offered itself as a haven to Jews in Europe. Of course, I also learned of the racial issues within Turkey from the treatment of the Armenians to that of the Jews in 1943.
A very interesting read, with complex and interesting characters.

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