The story of how modern Turkey came to be, as told through the life of a village near Fethiye, Telmessos that was, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Turkey really is the crossroads of continents, which only means that it has been the marching ground of armies since civilization began. de Bernieres’ description of the fighting and the atrocities before, during and after World War I leave you feeling that no matter how horrible was the forced relocation of Greek Turks to Greece and Turkish Greeks to Turkey, it might also have been in some awful way necessary. Levon the Armenian was always going to be “other” in Eskibahce, and, once the Ottoman empire fell, until the Turks either killed or expelled all the “others,” there would be no peace there.
There are so many wonderful characters, and so many storylines unresolved. What happened to Drousoula’s family? To Daskalos Leonidas Efendi? To Layla Hanim? To Mehmetcik? And then I realized. They were all Greeks. The Turks left behind never knew what happened to their friends. Why should I?
This is a long read but a worthwhile one, especially if you’ve traveled in Turkey or are going to.
I’ll be signing the new Kate Shugak novel at the Poisoned Pen
at 2pm on January 11th. See you there!