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 15-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 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 17-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.
When a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges, however. 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.
©2008 Alan Drew; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
Gardens of Water will make a great book club book. It is sad from start to finish, no one really changes. This book is more or less a snap shot. There is no closer. Book clubs will love it. I did not find it my cup of tea.
Because this was Alan Drew's writing debut, I am sure I will be looking forward to reading future stories written by him. The "Gardens of Water" was excellent. I like historical fictions and he did an excellent job at providing that in this story.
Because of current conflicts in the Middle East, it was easy to understand what was revealed in this novel: the conflicts between cultures and religion and age. This is a beautiful but sad story and will have you pondering our multicultural world.
The narrator, Mark Bramhall, was perfect for this story and did an awesome job!
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