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Once again from Ayse Kulin's words I have learned a little more about recent Turkish History from my preferred historical fiction reading. I never really thought much about Turkey in the aftermath of World War I. I knew the Ottoman Empire collapsed and I knew that Kemal Atatürk was the Father of the Modern Turkish Republic but that was all. I knew nothing of the Occupation by Allied Forces. I didn't know what happened to The Sultan. This book opened up a little of that period of change and uncertainty to me. This is the third of Ayse Kulin's Novels I have read. I enjoyed all three. Each opened up a little of Turkey to me.
The ambitious work depicts the historic downfall of the Ottoman Empire during the closing years of WWI, interwoven with the personal dynamics and machinations of a wealthy, influential Muslim family. Suspense and intrigue weave throughout the story as the characters wrestle against dangerous times, grapple with tumultuous events, and oppose political rivals. The characters personalities expand through their interactions and activities, as the author simultaneously builds the political, wartime narrative. A realistic view of the struggle for independence emerges with images of the Allied occupation provoking civil unrest and the response of nationalist revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries amid and religious agitators. In the fray, the new women’s rights movement contests traditional social mores. Colorful depictions of daily life as well as power struggles between family members and relationships of tender, passionate love, circle throughout the novel.
I love history! Historical fiction is one of my favorite categories of literature when well written (otherwise it's the pits).
This novel is a story that anyone, regardless of culture, can relate to. What I found especially compelling was that there was quite a bit of historical information written into the story that I had not encountered before in my study of Americo-European sources related to Turkey. I especially appreciated that this information was folded into the story without a dogmatic agenda that I've found presented by other authors of historical novels.
The author has also included "Notes" at the end of the book. I suggest readers review these before starting the novel because they explain many Turkish phrases and customs that, once known by the reader, add to the enjoyment of the novel.
I love her writing style so much that I purchased her newest book after finishing Chapter 3.
Thank you Ms Kulin for this wonderful book. In addition to being among the most respected authors in Turkey, you are now a favorite of mine!
"Farewell" is a sympathetic, semi-fictional chronicle of the struggles of a circle of well-to-do, urbane and politically active Turks, during the turbulent, often violent post-WWI transition (both social and political) from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic, enlivened by the humanity and individuality of the principal characters. It is simultaneously an unqualified defense of Turkish nationalism, and of the Kemalists who battled Armenians and Greeks (and English and French occupiers) attempting by force of arms to carve their own dominions out of post-war Ottoman domains from the Aegean to Iran -- conflicts which have yet to emerge from the sociopolitical arena of "good guys" and "bad guys". I found the book to be historically instructive and to involve engrossing human interest, both. (There are some persistent, but not too distracting, typographical irregularities in this edition.)
I loved this novel. The pacing was perfect and the characters were believable. While it takes place in a mansion dominated by idle women during the last years of the war, the tension built with every chapter. It gave me insight to the end of an empire I know little about. I will miss these characters forever. I am so sad to have finished this book.
*note, the kindle version has som awkward edits. Please be aware that there is a brief unlisted notes section at the end. Those notes would have helped me understand Turkish culture a bit more.
The author in simple images captures the era and the lifestyles of people caught up in the aftermath of WW1 as it affected Istanbul. The characters emerge along with their cultural heritages.and mores. The reader experiences their confusion and varied reactions as the Ottoman Empire implodes and the occupying powers carve up the territory. I hope that more than the current two books by this author are translated into English. They are informative as well as good reading.
The end of World War I brought devastating change to all people in the Ottoman Empire. Forced out of their homes, occupations, and the very land that they had known for centuries, they struggled to survive among the occupiers and the betrayers as the Ottoman Empire was cut into pieces. In the midst of chaos and constant danger, they struggled to save their families. Ayse Kulin has presented a usually ignored aspect of that time--the suffering and determination of one Turkish family to survive.
La ambientación histórica de la obra es impecable. Los personajes son entrañables y bien logrados. En general, es una novela interesante y entretenida. Por otra parte pienso que a la trama le falta más drama y acción. Tenía muchas expectativas sobre las acciones de Kemal, luego del encierro y todo termina muy pasivamente, sin lucha ni resistencia.
Having been to Istanbul, my interest was piqued by the title. Even though it is fiction- I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the customs, food and dress. The setting (right after WWI) helped explain to me the politics of that part of the world and the hatred of the Turks toward the Greeks (and the other way around).
Fantastic! I love the way it was written with so much candor. It made me wanted to hop on a plane and experience the tastes and aromas of their food. To see and smell their flowers. Truly love it and highly recommend it. Congratulations to the author.