Thank you so much Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me a copy of this beautiful book for review. Smart and important this book touches on topics that heavily impact all of us every day. I give this moving story a solid 4 stars!
“Never believe anything you haven’t seen with your eyes, heard with your ears, touched with your hands and grasped with your mind.”
Peri, a married, wealthy, beautiful Turkish woman, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground — an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past — and a love — Peri had tried desperately to forget.
Three Daughters of Eve is set over an evening in contemporary Istanbul, as Peri arrives at the party and navigates the tensions that simmer in this crossroads country between East and West, religious and secular, rich and poor. Over the course of the dinner, and amidst an opulence that is surely ill-begotten, terrorist attacks occur across the city. Competing in Peri’s mind however are the memories invoked by her almost-lost polaroid, of the time years earlier when she was sent abroad for the first time, to attend Oxford University. As a young woman there, she had become friends with the charming, adventurous Shirin, a fully assimilated Iranian girl, and Mona, a devout Egyptian-American. Their arguments about Islam and feminism find focus in the charismatic but controversial Professor Azur, who teaches divinity, but in unorthodox ways. As the terrorist attacks come ever closer, Peri is moved to recall the scandal that tore them all apart.
Elif Shafak is the number one bestselling novelist in her native Turkey, and her work is translated and celebrated around the world. In Three Daughters of Eve, she has given us a rich and moving story that humanizes and personalizes one of the most profound sea changes of the modern world.
I am always a little hesitant to read books like this one, tackling important topics like politics and religion. To me they are topics I like to avoid as I hate politics and I am not very religious. From the first page though I could tell Elif’s writing style would be one that I enjoyed. In this story there are three people in which encompass every person, the believer, the sinner, and the confused. Which one are you?
As much as Peri is completely different from me, we are also similar in many more ways. Most of all that she was the character portrayed as the confused. Not really being religious, but not ignoring it either. Not sure what to believe. If ever there was a way to describe how I felt about these topics, confused would be the best word. I liked being able to understand what someone was going through with their own identity and seeing a bit of it in myself.
Elif’s views on the world are so accurate she envisions life in ways I wouldn’t, in metaphors or imagery that are so spot on. Within Peri’s parents I felt as though Elif summarized the world today. The views of one group against another. This was so much more than a story of just one girls growth. It was a story of humanity, the questions and intolerances and differences we face everyday.
If I were to have rated this book just on the first 3 parts it easily would have ranked closer to 5 stars. Unfortunately the last part is what brought the book down for me. It did not play out how I thought and honestly certain parts seemed to take away from other parts at the end. It seemed to not make much sense. I am sure there is a meaning behind this ending, but I couldn’t see it and I didn’t really care for it. Also, as I have already stated, this book talks about really dense topics, politics and religion. So a lot of the time it was a bit over my head as I do not study politics or religion. At times it felt like a heavy read, although I think Elif’s writing more than compensated for this as it was so beautifully written.
This is an important book and I would definitely recommend it to others. I think everyone can see a bit of themselves in this and that is always an eye opening experience. Thank you again Bloomsbury for sending this my way!