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Gardens of Water (Large Print Edition)


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Gardens of Water (Large Print Edition)

Turkey, 1999. A devastating earthquake brings Istanbul crumbling to the ground, ripping apart the fragile stability of Sinan's world. His family home becomes a makeshift tent in a camp run by Western missionaries whom he stubbornly distrusts, and he soon finds himself struggling to protect his family's honour and values. As he becomes a helpless witness to his daughter's dangerous infatuation with a young American, Sinan takes a series of drastic decisions with unforeseeable consequences. Cultures clash, political and religious tensions mount, and Sinan's actions spiral into a powerful and heartbreaking conclusion. (Large Print Edition)

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What customers say about Gardens of Water (Large Print Edition)?

  1. 6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Lesson in International Relations., 26 Aug. 2008
    By 
    Mrs. H. V. Minor (Guildford, England) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Gardens of Water (Hardcover)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What’s this?)
    Set in Turkey, in 1999, the year the earthquake struck, this story follows the fortunes of two families whose fates become entangled. Sinan and Nilufer are conservative, Kurdish Muslims from a rural background who are attempting to bring up their two children, Irem and her young brother, Ismail, along strictly tradional lines. Marcus and Sarah and their son, Dylan, are Americans living and working in Turkey. Sinan has a profound mistrust of Americans who he accuses of aiding Turkey in the suppression of Kurds and their fight to establish a Kurdish homeland, so when the earthquake binds him to Marcus in ties of obligation, their relationship becomes even more scratchy. Several strands weave through this novel: the role of women in Kurdish Moslem society, the clash of cultures – conservative Moslem with twentieth century American, the clash of Moslem with Christian values, the position of minority Kurds living in Turkey, the stress of lives lived in refugee camps and the stresses of all these upon young people caught up in them, all combine to create a devastating scenario in which personal relationships are stretched to snapping point. Alan Drew draws his characters in depth and the reader, powerfully pulled into their emotions, will find it difficult to decide where the fine dividing lines between right and wrong lie. The novel also sounds warning bells about the dangers inherent in tampering with the belief systems of others and also of intolerant prejudice which blinds individuals to acts of kindness.

    This is a powerful novel that raises many questions: it is for the reader to ponder the answers.

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  2. 19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Engaging and enriching, 21 Nov. 2008
    By 
    stevieby (UK) –

    This review is from: Gardens of Water (Hardcover)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What’s this?)
    This book centres around an earthquake in Turkey and its after-effects on one Turkish family and their American neighbours. I am no fan of disaster books (or movies, etc.) but fortunately here the earthquake is merely a trigger to explore the deep chasms of Turkish society and the world in general; namely East vs. West, Muslim vs. Christian (religious vs. secular), and rich vs. poor. Not to mention Turkey’s own internal feuding with the Kurds. So, plenty of rich topics to explore and the author does a pretty good job to expose these all at a personal level. Moreover, the characters are not one-dimensional fanatics blindly arguing their point; these are real people – parents wanting a good life and happiness for their children while around them the modern world is busy redefining what `a good life’ is and their children’s expectations for happiness. Their struggles are internal as much as external – a search not only for answers but for identity and belonging. There is the feeling of life on the edge; the earthquake unbalancing an already shaky equilibrium.

    The writing is very good – there is emotional depth without becoming sentimental or cloying. The story is teased out at a reasonable pace and only occasionally does the back and forth over the intractable become tedious. If anything, what slightly distracts is the manufactured in the American School of Literature feel to the book – a little too deliberate, everything working but nothing soaring….

    My main concern, however, is how well an American can get into the mind and soul of a Turk? On the face of it, extremely well, I must admit! If I compare to a Turkish writer like Pamuk, can I tell the difference… no! If anything I find this book is more accessible. So really I should say I have a suspicion the author may have missed some of the subtler aspects of the tangled mess that is Turkey, and to be fair it has not spoiled my read.

    Religion, politics, war, history, family… Oh! Did I mention the love story? Enough topics to interest everyone, surely! So unless you preference is for easy-to-read fantasy or romance, this is a worthwhile read.

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  3. 15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Dull and disappointing, 5 Sept. 2012
    By 
    dharma

    Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    This review is from: Gardens of Water (Paperback)
    I have read other books in this genre such as The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Blood of Flowers, all of which I would describe as ‘stunning’ and ‘gripping’ but this one totally failed to engage me and the ending was a let down. Part of the problem for me was disliking the central figure (hero?) Sinan and his wife so much, for their callous attitude towards their daughter and preferential treatment of their son. Not an unheard-of theme, sadly. Other reviewers have done a great job in describing the story and how the author covers many sensitive and thought-provoking issues, but I am nonplussed by the 5-star ratings that have been given.
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