When Pembe leaves the Kurdish village of her birth, and her twin sister with it, it is for love. She follows her husband, Adem, to London with the hope of making a new life, but the family soon faces a stark choice: to stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. When Adem abandons his family, it is Iskender, Pembe’s eldest son, who must step in and prevent shame from falling on the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them. Trapped by the mistakes of the past, the Toprak children find their lives shattered and transformed by a brutal act of murder. A powerful novel set in Turkey and London in the 1970s, Honour explores pain and loss, loyalty and betrayal, the trials of the immigrant, the clash of tradition and modernity, as well as the love and heartbreak that too often tears families apart.
Elif Shafak is the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and is the most widely-read female novelist in Turkey. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. She is a contributor for The Telegraph, Guardian and the New York Times and her TED talk on the politics of fiction has received 500,000 viewers since July 2010. She is married with two children and divides her time between Istanbul and London.
“Fascinating and gripping - a wonderful novel” (Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister)
“Rich and wide as the Euphrates river along whose banks it begins and ends, Elif Shafak has woven with masterful care and compassion one immigrant family's heartbreaking story - a story nurtured in the terrible silences between men and women trying to grow within ancient ways, all the while growing past them. I loved this book” (Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress)
“[Elif Shafak] joins writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Aamer Hussein, Andrea Levy, Hanan al-Shakyh and Leila Aboulela, who offer us fictional glimpses of London's Others” (The Independent)
“Exotic, evocative and utterly gripping” (The Times)
“Lushly and memorably magic-realist... This is an extraordinarily skilfully crafted and ambitious narrative” (The Independent)
“The book calls to mind The Color Purple in the fierceness of its engagement with male violence and its determination to see its characters to a better place. But Shafak is closer to Isabel Allende in spirit, confidence and charm. Her portrayal of Muslim cultures, both traditional and globalising, is as hopeful as it is politically sophisticated. This alone should gain her the world audience she has long deserved” (The Guardian)
“Moving, subtle and ultimately hopeful, Honour is further proof that Shafak is the most exciting Turkish novelist to reach western readers in years” (Irish Times)
“Vivid storytelling... that explores the darkest aspects of faith and love” (Sunday Telegraph)
“Shafak treats an important, absorbing subject in a fast-paced, internationally familiar style that will make it accessible to a wide readership” (Sunday Times)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By AmyAlice on 19-02-14
Honour - a clash of culture,murder, family honour
This book follows a Turkish family who come to England to live bringing their culture with them. The children though grow up with a more western outlook which causes untold misery when one character perceives his family's honour has been breached.
The book moves back across generations in Turkey and forward to the young adults who have been raised in England.
This is not fast-paced or gripping - it s more a slow, thinking type narrative where the characters slowly advance to the ending - which is a surprise. It is worth a listen if you like unusual authors who have a different viewpoint to British/US/Australian writers and if you enjoy a story that unfolds steadily.
Read well - no problem with the narration.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Mrs G on 22-08-13
This is a heart breaking story of twin sisters from Turkish Kurdistan who live in the second half of 20th century with customs, superstitions and restrictions alien to Western society. There are so many threads within this story that it feels like Persian carpet. The main threads are position of women within Kurdish culture, love and rivalry between siblings, pressure of community, lives of immigrants and their perception of country in which they arrived for various reasons and where they live double lives - one within family and own community, the other within the host culture which feels as strange to them as their is to us. Their own children become strangers and are forced to act as translators between cultures. All characters are so alive: Pembe, fearful when found a man that she could love, Iskender who tries to be a Kurdish man at the age of sixteen, daughter, a girl of our time who fights her own battle for equality, lovely Yunis with big heart, weak husband Adem lost between love for most unsuitable woman and addicted to gambling. Not to mention sister left in Kurdistan, barren stepmother, strong willed mother who dies during last labor with unfulfilled wish to have a son, abuser father, pontificating uncle and so on., The book is full of vignettes to make the rich picture of this contemporary story. All the clashes lead to a tragedy which is completely avoidable if only all characters in this story open their eyes and accept norms of society and time they live in, but this is impossible, so they pay a price.
The reading is so good that I nearly forgot to mention it.
Could not recommend this book more highly.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful