From the acclaimed author of the 2007 New York Times Notable Book Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name comes a stunning novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children.
Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of DatÇa, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier time—as well as sand and sea—Yvonne returns to DatÇa. But her plans for a restorative week in Turkey are quickly complicated. Instead of comforting her, her memories begin to trouble her. Her vacation rental's landlord and his bold, intriguing wife—who share a curious marital arrangement—become constant uninvited visitors, in and out of the house.
Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaos—and her sense of self into turmoil.
With the crystalline voice and psychological nuance for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a stunningly beautiful and mysterious landscape.
©2010 Vendela Vida (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
“A brilliant, topsy-turvy, twenty-first-century variation on E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India....Vida creates an atmosphere at once molten and chilling as she deftly exposes the wounding reverberations of timeless conflicts between men and women, parents and children, East and West, appearance and truth.” (Booklist)
What can we learn from a widow who, in late middle age, decides to vacation where she had her honeymoon many years before? Something about how our perceptions shape our beliefs and how we carry past family problems deep within ourselves, using them as a filter against current realities.
The pace is easy and gentle, kind to the protagonist, but the novel pulls no punches when it's time to make a point. It's old-fashioned in a way, I suppose, resembling the way people "used to" write novels. I'm all for literary invention, but sometimes I just want to read a story that starts at the beginning and ends at the end, and this is a good one.
I've been wanting to read something by Vindela Vida for awhile now, after seeing the movie, Away We Go, that she co-wrote with her husband, Dave Eggars. I had no expectations going into this book. I decided to let it take me on whatever journey it wanted to.
It was never boring, but I found the seemingly pointless details very tedious. And I absolutely hated the narrator. She over-exagerated every sentence as if she were reading an action packed thriller, or she were about to reveal a sinister plot in a gripping who-done-it. She redeemed herself, however, by doing a great job with the accents. She even did a New Zealand accent with a fair bit of accuracy.
In the end, those things that bothered me didn't matter so much. Once you find out the whole point of the journey and all the little details, the tedium proves to be all worth it. It isn't a gripping tale, or a breathtaking masterpiece. Rather, it is a quiet meandering story that results in self-awareness and acceptance.
Interesting premise, well-written, story meanders a bit with an unsatisfying ending.
I was looking forward to listening to this story based on the largely positive reviews that I had read. The story was quite well-written but it meandered a bit and we don't get to know the main character as well as we could. The ending was upbeat, but didn't fit well with the story. The book did best in describing the atmosphere of what Turkey is like and how it feels to be a woman on her own in this country.
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