Regards from the Dead Princess: Novel of a Life

Kenize Mourad, Author Arcade Publishing $19.95 (562p) ISBN 978-1-55970-019-1
The history of Mourad's book is as strange as the story she tells. It is the true story of her mother Selma, an Ottoman princess, granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, of her childhood in Beirut, her arranged marriage to an India rajah, her death in Paris. Selma's family was exiled from Turkey in 1918; she died in occupied France in 1941. The author, born shortly before Selma's death, only learned the facts of her parentage at the age of 20. From the bare bones of a life and four years of research, Mourad has reconstructed the lifestyle of the Ottoman harem, the mores of wealthy Muslims in Turkey and India. Selma is pictured--but never quite brought to life--as a spoiled child who was a pawn of her elders, whose preparation for adulthood has not equipped her to cope with her yearning for freedom. A bestseller in France, this lengthy and imperfect novel, marred as it is by awkward writing and complicated, often unnecessary, details of family feuds, becomes hauntingly memorable--especially the last section, in which Selma, accompanied only by an aging eunuch, struggles to survive in occupied Paris. 75,000 copy first printing; $75,000 ad/promo. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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