Sarah A Smith

From Kurdistan to Hackney



Viking 342pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The author of eight novels, three of them in English, Elif Shafak has been heavily lauded with prizes and praise in East and West alike. Her ambitious, emotionally compelling new work, Honour, leaves the reader in no doubt that she deserves all these plaudits, and more.

Set variously in a Kurdish village in southern Turkey, a dingy flat in Istanbul and a Hackney estate, and focusing upon events in 1945, 1978 and 1992, Honour is a family saga with debts to Freud and to Dickens. Its themes are emotional damage and the destructive force of social restriction. These are explored through Adem, the Turkish child of a broken home, his Kurdish wife, Pembe, and her twin, Jamila. The story is carried forward, and brought to its catastrophic conclusion, through the lives of Adem and Pembe’s three children, for whose betterment they moved to London.

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