: Gardens of water: a novel (9781400066872) : Alan Drew : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Gardens Of Water: A Novel

by Alan Drew
Our price: LBP 37,500Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist

Product Details

  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publishing date: 05/02/2008
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781400066872
  • ISBN: 1400066875


Powerful, emotional, and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s stunning first novel brings to life two unforgettable families–one Kurdish, one American–and the sacrifice and love that bind them together.

In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan Basioglu, a devout Muslim, and his wife, Nilüfer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son’s coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, İrem, 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, İrem 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 seventeen-year-old American son of expatriate teachers.

İrem 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.

But when a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. 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 İrem and Dylan, Sinan makes a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal that will change everyone’s lives forever.

The deep bonds among father, son, and daughter; the tension between honoring tradition and embracing personal freedom; the conflict between cultures and faiths; the regrets of age and the passions of youth–these are the timeless themes Alan Drew weaves into a brilliant fiction debut.

In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

  • Gardens of Water - A Whirlwind of Emotions
    From Amazon

    In a complex world of clashing cultures, both between nations as well as within one another, Alan Drew weaves a tale that captivates the readers emotions, taking hold until the very end.

    The story begins as Sinan and his Kurdish family celebrate their son's rite of passage. It is at this early point in the story that we discover that Irem, their teenage daughter bares a slight jealously towards her beloved brother for their parents favored treatment. We also learn of Irem's relationship with the American boy who lives in the apartment above them.

    Suddenly, an earthquate hits the town that changes the life of each and every character forever.

    So begins a tale that will ultimately lead to passion, fear, regret, loss, friendship, forgiveness, guilt, anger, and peace.

    Irem will have you quickly reminiscing of those feelings as a rebellious teenager stricken with a desperate case of puppy love.

    Sinan, the most complex character of the novel, will cause your emotions to fluctuate as you journey with him through the depth of a father's love, his misconstrued hatred for America and his contemplation of how to regain the honor of his family.

    The ending comes as quite a surprise and I am sincerely impressed with this fresh novelist's debut into the literary world.

    It is with great anticipation that I await his next project.

  • An English Teacher's Dream
    From Amazon

    Garden's of Water, a debut novel, by Alan Drew, is a rich and multi-level work. The book is an honest and tragic look at at a small Kurdish family; however the appeal is universal. Parts of the novel harken back to the tragedy of King Lear and the star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet.

    In synopsis the story is rather simple with six main characters a small Kurdish family: Father, Mother, Ismail, the young son and the teenage daughter, Irem, and the family of a Christian missionary educator,( poorly fleshed-out), his wife and teenage son.

    Rather than recounting the story; I would rather list some major themes: a clash of cultures, a father's honor, the role of women in Islamic society, the power of community and the hopelessness of poverty.

    The Water of the title runs as a theme throughout the book: the Bosphorius, a life saved by water, a life ended by water,water for healing and washing for prayer.

    A beautiful little book with a real insight into a man's soul.The book will stay with you long after you finish it. A gem of a book, I highly recommend it.

  • "Many horrible things happen in the world," I, too, wish I had someone to blame for them."
    From Amazon

    The 1999 Mamara earthquake, approximately 7.6 in magnitude, struck northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999 at about 3:01am local time. Even though the event only lasted for thirty-seven seconds, the event ended up killing up to forty-five thousand people and left approximately half a million people homeless. 50,000 houses were heavily damaged, 2000 other buildings collapsed and 4000 other building were heavily damaged.

    This terrible disaster forms the core of Alan Drew's first novel, Gardens of Water, a story that mirrors a seismic shift, not in just the earth, but as also lived by a poor Kurdish family who find themselves caught up in an evolving world and in the evolving politics of their country where Turks and Kurds, Christian, and Moslems inevitably clash with unexpected consequences.

    Consigned to virtually living in a ramshackle tent city, after the earthquake destroys their apartment block in downtown of Golcuk, the club footed grocer, Sinan Basioglu, his wife, Nilufer, along with their fifteen-year-old daughter, Irem, and their nine-year-old son, Ismail, are subjected to the whims of fate as their lives become one long trial after another.

    A strong, but devoutly conservative man who is fiercely protective of his family, particularly of Ismail whom he loves with an unadulterated abundance, Sinan is at first unaware of the more serious implications that surface when he becomes involved with the an American director of one of the expensive private missionary schools, Marcus Roberts, and his wife Sarah and their tattooed son Dylan.

    The Robert's have been living in the same apartment block, but they are unexpectedly thrust together with Sinan and his family and it is Sinan who ultimately resents these Americans who are pushing their way into his life, these Americans who are in league with the Turks and have helped the Turkish government destroy Kurdish villages.

    In the aftermath of the quake, Sarah has sacrificed her own life so that Ismail may live, when he falls and then wakes in Sarah's arms with the water she had placed on his lips. Meanwhile, Sinan is sorry for Marcus' loss, but he needs to make the American understand that the vulnerable Irem must not be seen with his son Dylan.

    Even on the night of the quake, Dylan had tried to touch her, and panicked, she has silently tried to pull away. But the poor Irem just cannot help herself; she's drawn to the dashing and seductive Dylan, partly out of sexual curiosity, but also because she's trying to find the love that her father has for most of his life denied her. All her life she's known that Sinan has favored her younger brother rather than here and this knowledge throws her into a maelstrom of insecurities.

    As Dylan and Irem continue to meet for furtive trysts at night by the seashore, an evolving personal, political and indeed competitive dynamic develops between Marcus and Sinan. Sinan resents the fact that he's led a hardscrabble life defined by blood, death and destruction, when he hears of Marcus' life, his trips to and from America and his simple ability to make the choice to quit his job. This is so outside the realm of Sinan's experience.

    Considering that the this delicate family dynamic is doomed to rupture, Sinan's role as patriarch and provider for his family is bought into question when they relocate to a sodden and makeshift camp with only a group of American Christian missionaries to support them, feed them and offer them some measure of comfort. It is here finally, that Sinan knows he needs to do something, where everyone is gone, and everything has changed.

    Faced with an errant, daughter, willfully disobeying him and flirting with the American boy, and now the Americans themselves, here to help, even though everyone in his home town knows that America supported the Turkish paramilitary, Sinan is almost helpless to unravel all of the emotional baggage created years ago when he was a small boy in his old childhood home of Yesilli.

    A sense of desolation is constant in this heart-breaking novel, especially for the Sinan as he fanatically tries to find work, forced to carry televisions through the crowded streets of Istanbul, his swollen foot aching as he walks, the weight of them almost unbearable; and the virginal Irem as she gradually becomes torn between the affections of her young American beau and her stubborn, old-world father who refuses to let he go her own way.

    Weaving into the narrative the themes of god and death and how the dead can finally win over all the living people, Drew has written a fascinating account of modern Turkey that combines the cosmopolitanism of Istanbul with the smaller towns, all ravaged by this terrible earthquake. The author also writes a tender account of an average family, who are forced once and for all, to confront the extraordinary compassion and capacity for forgiveness that lies within their hearts. Mike Leonard March 08.

  • Gardens of Water
    From Amazon

    GARDENS OF WATER is a very good read. The book shows some of the problems of the Middle East. One family, in particular, are at odds with everyone. They are Muslims/Kurds. They are displaced refugees in Turkey. The teen-age daughter is fighting a moral battle with her Muslim values and the freedoms of the West. It is very insightful showing the problems Christians bring when they come to "save" them after the tremendous earthquake. The imagery of the earthquake is very compelling. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of other cultures.

  • Lovely and terrible
    From Amazon

    It has been nine years since the deadly Turkish earthquake of 1999, and yet the upheavals described in Gardens of Water echo throughout the news of today. Sinan, a Kurdish refugee shopkeeper working to establish a life in Turkey, fights to keep Turkey's liberal secular influences from affecting his family. But then the earthquake strikes, and the Turkish influences are joined with even more Western influences in the form of an American family who gives shelter and aid to Sinan and his wife and children.

    One of those children, his teenaged daughter Irem, has already felt the temptations of the West as personified by Dylan, the American family's son. Thrown together in a post-earthquake refugee camp, Dylan and Irem test boundaries for both of their families. Irem is forbidden to see Dylan, confined to the family tent. "She was stained with rumors because of a kiss. But it wasn't a stupid kiss; it was everything; it was what she wanted most, the only thing that made her happy. And the walls of the tent were crowding in and her mother wouldn't shut up and she thought she would explode."

    Questions of honor arise... the honor of women, the honor of Kurds, the honor of Muslims, the honor of good and decent individuals caught up in a chaos beyond their control. The clash of cultures leads to tragedy, though it is a tragedy accompanied by understanding.

    The resonance of current events comes with the subtle examination of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, and a more explicit description of the good intentions of American Christians and the road they pave. Sinan's father fell victim to Turkish oppression, but Sinan must acknowledge that his father provoked the oppressor. The American missionaries provide a rapid response to the disaster, bringing in desperately needed housing, food, and water, but their insistence on proselytizing and conversion brings about suspicion and even retaliation from both devout and militant Muslims in the camps. Author Alan Drew may not have set out to draw parallels, but he does draw all the difficulties faced by all of the characters with balance and care, never preaching, and understanding the conflicts he limns so well results in a deeper understanding of the conflicts we face now.

    The complexities of the issues are served well by Drew's talent for storytelling, and his command of language is masterful. Early on, Sinan "watched the streak of black water beyond the rooftops, and the city lights strewn around the bay like a necklace. The tea-black sky floated above him, punctured with only three stars, just three tiny pinpricks. At night in the village there were more stars than night sky, more world out there staring back than there were people in the whole of this city, probably more than there were people in all of the world's cities." The transitions between plot development and thought processes, between exterior event and interior monologues, are seamless, descriptions are lyrical yet never self-conscious or forced. If there were "little darlings," he either killed them all or wove them in so skillfully that the language is never a distraction from the story but rather lifts it up and carries it along. "Gardens of Water," with its masterful blending of fiction and historical fact, is one of the finest stories told in recent years.

Working on your request