Tag-Archive for ◊ considerate ◊

Author:
• Sunday, February 02nd, 2014

Elif Shafak was born in 1971 to Turkish parents, a philosopher father and a diplomat mother, in Strasbourg, France. Her parents divorced when she was one year old and she returned to Turkey with her mother, which left an imprint on her life. A single child raised by a single divorcee mother was an unusual situation in a patriarchal environment in Ankara in the early 1970s.

Shafak lived between her traditionalist, irrational, superstitious grandmother in Ankara and her well educated, feminist, westernised, diplomat mother, abroad. She travelled all over the world which made her a multicultural and cosmopolitan person in her life and in her writing, combining eastern and western cultures as well as traditions in her novels.

Shafak writes in Turkish and English and is the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. Her books have been translated into many languages. She has won Turkish literary awards and has received several prestigious international prizes, one of them being the French honorary distinction of Chevalier des arts et des lettres in 2010.

Shafak is also a political Scientist and assistant professor. She obtained a Masters degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Her Master’s thesis on Islam, Women and Mysticism received an award from the Social Scientists Institute. She has been a teacher at various universities all over the world.

Shafak writes for a number of daily and monthly publications in Turkey and has contributed to several newspapers in Europe and in the USA as well as writing lyrics for Turkish musicians.

She lives with her two young children and Turkish husband who works as editor-in-chief for an Istanbul newspaper. She divides her time between Istanbul – the Turkish city that she is very attached to and which takes a central part in her novels – and London.

Her book, Honour, was written in English and published in 2012.

Adem Toprak is from Istanbul and his Kurdish wife, Pembe, was born and raised in a small, remote, roadless village called Mala çar Bayan located near the river Euphrates. Pembe has always longed to travel and after her marriage she moves to Istanbul, where her two children, Eskender and Esma were born. Her wish is fulfilled when her husband decides to emigrate with the family to 1970s bustling London, before the arrival of their third child Yunus.

Once in London, Adem and Pembe want to believe in love and freedom but deep inside they can’t get rid of, nor leave behind, their entrenched resistance to adapt to a different culture, nor their ingrained perception of betrayal, shame and honour.

Honour is the story of three generations of a Turkish and Kurdish family. Through the various narrators and viewpoints, the author is juxtaposing eastern and western cultures as well as conservative and modern societies.

The story revolves between Turkey and London. It starts with Esma and ends with her. Esma is the second Toprak child, a bright student. She is ambitious, independent, strong headed and destined to a bright future. The irony is that after her studies and her ambitious dreams, she ends up like her mother as a housewife. Esma has now two twin daughters following her marriage to the considerate and caring Palestinian immigrant scientific scholar, Nadir.

Yunus and Nadir become good friends. After sharing some thrills with a group of punk squatters, that he came across by chance in his early teens, Yunus becomes a successful musician with a band.
Throughout the story the author emphasizes the three siblings’ – Eskender, Esma and Yunus – different degrees of adaptation to the western world. Each one of them trying to adapt in his own way and according to the circumstances they are facing.

Feeling uprooted and lost in his new adopted country, Adem, the head of the family, has been brought up by an “at times sober, sweet and kind and at times drunken, evil and violent” father and a submissive mother who disappears out of his life at an early age. Having had this unsettled and insecure upbringing, Adem, once in London becomes an addicted gambler. He spends all his money to satisfy the needs of his Bulgarian lover, Roxana, the dancer. He eventually abandons his wife, Pembe and his three children without any income to survive on.

Adem’s wife Pembe, who is a determined and yet vulnerable character, feels just as displaced and disoriented as her husband. She finds a job in a hair-dressing saloon and finds solace in writing letters to her identical twin sister, Jamila.

Jamila, never marries – because her honour has been besmirched when kidnapped as a young girl through no fault of her own – and is living secluded in a remote place in Turkey. She becomes a midwife and a healer. She has a psychic connection with her identical twin sister and is an important character in the plot’s twist at the end of the story.

With her husband having run away with another woman, leaving her to bring-up their three children, Pembe establishes an innocent, secret relationship with a Greek cook, which will lead to her demise and lead her son Eskender to Shrewsbury prison after committing his irreparable crime by killing her for it. Eskender finds it difficult to embrace two cultures at once. He is a sympathetic character as an adult, when he is tortured by guilt and remorse and feels repentant for committing his heinous crime. Previously he was a confused teenager trying hard to find the right path on his own. He was young, without a father to guide him and with a mother who spoilt him and called him her “sultan”.

Eskender considers his mother’s irreproachable friendship with a man to be a crime and only by killing her can he restore the Toprak family honour, since his father will not undertake this task himself. Pembe has to die like her eldest sister, Hediye, who died, hanged by her family, many years earlier, for having eloped and then been forsaken by a young medical assistant.

In the novel, the author underlines that for some communities the only answer to restoring the family’s honour is death and that this code of honour is carried forward from generation to generation.

Honour has several themes: patriarchal societies, immigration, the search of identity, multiculturalism and honour code as well as honour killing – which today is still alive and well in various tribal communities all over the world. Just as domestic violence against women is also increasingly spreading all over the eastern and western world.

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Author:
• Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1965. He is the second of three children. His brother Michael is still alive, but his younger sister Danielle is deceased. His father was a professor and his mother was a housewife and then an optometrist’s assistant.

He majored in Business Finance and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with high honours in 1988.

After having been rejected by publishers and law schools, Nicholas Sparks worked in different fields, including estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products and starting his own manufacturing business. He was married in 1989 and lived in Sacramento before moving in 1992 to New Bern, North Carolina where he sold pharmaceuticals and where he is living today with his wife and five children.

Nicholas Sparks wrote his first novel, The Passing, in the summer of 1985 which was never published. His second unpublished novel, The Royal Murders, was written in 1989.

He is a prolific writer, he wrote fourteen books between 1996 and 2008:
The Note Book was published in 1996 and was made into a film.
Message in a Bottle in 1998 was also made into a film.
A Walk to Remember in 1999 was also a film.
The Rescue 2000.
A Bend in the Road in 2001.
Nights in Rodanthe 2002 was made into a film.
The Guardian 2003.
The Wedding 2003.
Three Weeks with my Brother 2004.
True Believer 2005.
At First Sight 2005.
Dear John 2006.
The Choice 2007.
The Lucky One 2008.

The Wedding is an easy to read, romantic story, about love between a husband, Wilson Lewis, the narrator, a hard working estate lawyer and his wife Jane. The novel recounts their relationship and the renewed efforts and vows orchestrated by the main character, Wilson Lewis, in an attempt to rekindle the lost romantic courtship, like in the early days of his relationship with Jane.

Wilson endeavours to win his wife back by trying hard to regain her love once more. After thirty years of marriage and after realizing that he loves Jane more than ever and therefore didn’t want to lose her, now that the romance and passion have gone out of their wedlock, he takes an important decision after forgetting his 29th wedding anniversary.

Wilson decides to spend the year leading up to his 30th anniversary secretly preparing a big surprise for the wife he adores, with the advice of his romantic father-in-law, Noah, and with the help of their three children, Leslie, Joseph and Anna.

He sets his mind to giving her the love and care that her parents gave to each other for fifty years. He also starts re-courting her and being attentive and considerate while planning to organise the wedding she always dreamed of having in order to make up for the simple civil wedding she had to settle for previously.

Anna will pretend to want to have her wedding on the same day as her parents wedding anniversary. The whole novel will be recounting all the preparation leading up to the big day until the happy, welcome and original twist at the end since the readers believe that the story is about Anna’s wedding all the way through the novel.

The author in the prologue asks the question : “Is it possible, I wonder, for a man to truly change?” The epilogue gives the answer : “Yes, I decided, a man can truly change” if given a second chance, true love will always prevail.