THE GIRL FROM THE GOLDEN HORN
An evocative new translation of a second novel by the author of Ali and Nino, this rich and memorable work follows one woman's journeys in the landscape of exile and love in post-WWI Europe. And while it was written in 1938, references to the strained relationship between Muslims and Christians are prescient. Asiadeh Anbari is the young daughter of a Turkish pasha in exile following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Promised as a bride to the former prince, Asiadeh is now adrift in Berlin. She meets Dr. Hassa, a Viennese laryngologist whose attentions prove both terrifying and entrancing. Though Hassa and his Western ways are at times bewildering to Asiadeh, the two fall in love. Said masterfully captures the fragility of their cultural boundaries, and the resulting love story is painfully poignant. Asiadeh pens a desperate letter to her former betrothed, asking him to release her from her obligation to him. Miraculously, the letter reaches the prince in hiding, who, overwhelmed by his own sorrow and loss, responds, urging her to follow any path that may grant her peace. Asiadeh and Hassa marry, although neither proves truly unencumbered by the past. On settling in Vienna, Asiadeh seems to lose both her language and bearings, trapped in a cold country in which she is continuously and profoundly misunderstood. It is then that the prince, alone and hungry for his homeland, comes to claim her. What follows is a passionate and heartbreaking story of love and loss on many different levels. Like the Asiatic musical scale referenced so often in the narrative, this novel is hauntingly beautiful, a lyrical and moving tribute to the meaning of homeland. (Nov.)
Forecast:Appearing in the same season as Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red, this brilliant exploration of cultural heritage could be a successful handsell to readers interested in Turkish history and culture.