Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Honor, by Elif Shafak

Why I read it: A New Yorker review that I will not link to because for some reason they keep their 1-paragraph 'Books Briefly Noted' section under lock and key.

Podcasts: None

Brow: Very highbrow.

Summary: The story of a family's journey from a small Kurdish village in eastern Turkey in the 1940s to London in the 1970s, to Britain in the 1990s. The tension between east and west, modern and traditional, comes to an explosive end.

What I liked about it: It's a terrific book about the immigrant experience and the culture clashes it brings about. I myself live in the Netherlands, which has a lot of first and second generation immigrants who face the exact kinds of pressures that these characters do: how far to integrate, the problems that how much you've integrated or not causes in your home community and the new community, the roles of men and women. What to do when someone breaks the 'rules' as you understand them.

What I didn't like about it: My one tiny critique is about the character of Esma. Sometimes she is the narrator, sometimes we get a third-person perspective from her point of view. Sometimes it's the 1990s, and sometimes it's the 1970s. It can get confusing.

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