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Ali and Ramazan [Paperback]

Perihan Magden , Ruth Whitehouse
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.94 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 April 2012
Based on a true story, this novel follows Ali and Ramazan, two boys from very different backgrounds who land in the same Istanbul orphanage. They quickly see eye to eye and fall into a loving relationship as children, bringing light to one another and to the other orphans in their dreary adopted home. Ramazan is a charmer, the school master's unfortunate favorite, the clown among the boys, and the only one with access to the world outside the orphanage's walls. He takes naïve, sweet, and quietly intelligent Ali under his wing, and together they blossom in a world all their own. However, at age 18 they are released into the streets of Istanbul to find their own way without the support of the state. Faced with an unaccepting world in which they have no one but each other, Ali and Ramazan each make choices that cannot be reversed, with tragic consequences.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (3 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611091411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611091410
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 14 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 901,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in Istanbul, Perihan Magden has written novels, poetry, and a column in Turkey’s national daily newspaper, Radikal. She is the author of two novels currently available in English, Messenger Boy Murders and 2 Girls, as well as Escape and The Companion. 2 Girls was made into film by director Kutlug Ataman and premiered at the 2005 London Film Festival. Her novels have been translated into eighteen languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, and Dutch. She is an honorary member of British PEN and winner of the Grand Award for Freedom of Speech by the Turkish Publishers Association.

Translator Ruth Whitehouse was first introduced to Turkish language and culture while working as a violinist in Ankara after graduating from the Royal College of Music in London. After her return to London, she focused on her career as a musician and raising two children while still maintaining her interest in Turkey. She went on to complete a BA (Hons) degree in Turkish studies and a PhD in Modern Turkish Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies. More recently, Ruth has also studied Persian, and she works as a translator from Turkish and Persian into English.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the special tongue of orphans... 2 Mar 2012
By techpuppy TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you didn't already know that Perihan Magden was a journalist you'd probably guess it from her prose, she doesn't waste words on hyperbole or elaborate descriptions preferring instead a kind of narrative journalism. Few details are left out as we follow Ali and Ramazan's tortured lives within a neglected and neglectful Istanbul orphanage - but few details are really explored or expanded either. Incidents that would, in many other novels, be presented as major dramatic events or character shifts merely get mentioned in passing and it's left to the reader to assimilate their importance. The result is a short but utterly compelling book that's very hard to turn away from and yet sometimes very hard to face too.

The boys first meet aged about thirteen when Ali comes to the orphanage where Ramazan is already the top dog, at least in his own mind. They quickly form an extraordinary loving bond that is to last beyond their time in the orphanage and their subsequent National Service until eventually they're able to live together. However the years spent being ignored or abused within the orphanage have left them completely unprepared to maintain a stable independent life and they fall into a dangerous and desperate co-dependancy. The book never condemns the two young men for their behaviour and you're left in no doubt the real crime is the abandonment and abuse they've suffered and that the original damage was not self-inflicted, even if their ongoing harm is.

The tragic gay character or love story is a (very tired and sometimes offensive) literary and cinematic cliché and it could be possible to dismiss Ali & Ramazan for the same offence but Perihan Magden manages, perhaps only just manages, to transcend the stereotype. Ali and Ramazan's love for each other is presented as the only really redemptive or exalted element within their troubled lives and, despite how the story ends, it's that thought that really haunts you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and sad story 28 Jun 2012
By Mr. L. Moreland VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Hmmm. Do not read this book if you are even vaguely depressed! Ali and Ramazan is the story of two young boys who meet in a Turkish orphanage and their journey to young men. Sexual abuse, drug abuse, loneliness, prostitution, deprivation and through this the two boys fall in love and become inextricably linked to spend their lives together. Without wanting to give away too much of the story, their lives are not extremely happy ones and the whole story descends deeper into despair.

The author's writing style is also an acquired taste as she has a penchant for repetition that I found quite annoying. That said, I read it til the end and can see that it is a story worth being told, but certainly is a downer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine novella of a tragic love story 9 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Perihan Magden's novella traces the lives of two turkish boys, both orphaned, who live at the very bottom of the pecking in order in contemporary Turkey. used an abused as orphans, Ramazan grows up to be a male prostitute. Ali, the quieter of the two loves Ramazan and Ramazan loves Ali. They don't question their relationship, they just know that it must be. Magden bases the tale on a newspaper story and writes with candour of this doomed love, but refuses to judge.

The characters are brought vividly to life in this engaging story which I enjoyed very much indeed. Although it is a "gay" love story, the homosexuality is central and incidental at the same time and should not put off other prospective readers. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the label and enjoy the contents 31 Mar 2012
By T. Russell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is categorised as 'gay and lesbian' - which means that a number of people will instantly decide that this is not a book for them and miss a real treat. The story is about sacrifice and obsession and, because it is written by a woman, love; this is a word which male authors writing about homosexual relationships seem to shy away from, resulting in wham bam thankyou Sam nonsense populated by artificial characters from their last wet dream plus favourite scenes from their collection of R18s. This is a romantic novel of the best type - avoiding banality and schmaltz and dealing with the lives of real people with whom we can identify whatever our own sexual predelictions (for those who are worried about that sort of thing, there are no lingering explicit scenes - in such a short book, there's no time anyway). We have all the scenes that might be expected in a romance - the first meeting, the flowering of love, necessary painful partings, coping with adversity, quarrels...but each scene is handled without resort to soap opera banality, and there isn't a word out of place. The reader knows that a relationship like the one described could end either as a triumph over adversity (and there's a lot of adversity to overcome) or disaster...I urge you to read the book and find out which; a gem of a book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story 3 May 2012
By Darren Watkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I did have my doubts when I first started reading this book. It is split into 27 chapters, most are only a few pages long, and is split into two parts.

The first part of the book sets the scene of the location and characters. It tells you how the two main characters met each other at the orphanage, and also about their and the other kids treatment at the orphanage. I did have to say I was a little shocked about how Ramazan felt about the Master character, but could perfectly understand why later.

The story is very touching. I would class this as a longer type of short story. I was able to read the book in one day, was really unable to put it down.

As others have said, this is classed under the gay and lesbian section, but the story mainly concentrates on relationships rather than sex.

Can really recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing
A sad tale but a very engaging one, beautifully written. A chillingly true illustration of the life long devastation caused by childhood trauma in any time or culture. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Linda D Read
3.0 out of 5 stars Unrelenting but interesting
Quite a brief book that packs a decent punch. It explores the tragic lives of a couple of young. Turkish orphans in love. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Mr. S. D. Mcginty
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, with reservations
Quite a short book & easy to read, it concerns two young boys, the Ali And Ramazan of the title, who meet in a Turkish orphanage. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2012 by Mr. K. Cross
3.0 out of 5 stars A sad indictment of the Turkish orphanage system
I came across this book while trawling the 2.99 and under section on Amazon, and thinking that it sounded an interesting read, decided to download a copy. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2012 by Miss J. M. Austin
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief, Sad, Likeable Little Book
This is a love story against the odds. Two boys fall in love and, despite the difficult circumstances of their lives, they try and make a life together. Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by pjr
3.0 out of 5 stars Ali and Ramazan
This book was a love story between two people that was almost erotic at times quite good it weird at the same time
Published on 14 May 2012 by micb911
3.0 out of 5 stars Failed to engage
Ramazan has known no other life than that as an orphan living in an orphanage in Istanbul. He is a confident, charismatic and beautiful boy, looked up to by his peers among whom he... Read more
Published on 8 May 2012 by Benjamin
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance, but gut punchingly tragic and terrible subject...
This book is shattering. I am shocked that a woman is the author. Perihan Magden describes abject poverty, and sickening child abuse dispassionately. Read more
Published on 31 Mar 2012 by Mr. M. L. Cawood-campbell
3.0 out of 5 stars Based on a true story, apparently, but how true? Can so many Turkish...
I thought that this would be a great read, perhaps emotional, tragic and with insight into MM relationships in a culture caught between the East and the West - I wasn't sure how... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2012 by ROROBLU'S MUM
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