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Honour [Kindle Edition]

Elif Shafak
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the Orange Prize long-listed and award-winning author of The Forty Rules of Love and The Bastard of Istanbul Elif Shafak, Honour is a novel of love, betrayal and a clash of cultures.



'My mother died twice. I promised myself I would not let her story be forgotten . . .'



Leaving her twin sister behind, Pembe leaves Turkey for love - following her husband Adem to London. There the Topraks hope to make new lives for themselves and their children. Yet, no matter how far they travel, the traditions and beliefs the Topraks left behind stay with them - carried in the blood.



Their eldest is the boy Iskender, who remembers Turkey and feels betrayal deeper than most. His sister is Esma, who is loyal and true despite the pain and heartache. And, lastly, Yunus, who was born in London, and is shy and different.



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.



'A powerful book; thoughtful, provoking and compassionate' Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat



'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 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 thirty 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 views since July 2010. She is married with two children and divides her time between Istanbul and London.


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Review

Colourfully woven and beguilingly intelligent (Daily Telegraph)

A powerful book; thoughtful, provoking and compassionate (Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat)

A gorgeous, jewelled, luxurious book (The Times)

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 tells stories of great urgency, heart, and intellectual acuity. Honour is a powerful tale of family connection and heartbreak, offering us insight and delight in equal measure. This is a compulsively readable novel, an exquisite and deep rendering of the fullness of life. (Aurelie Sheehan, author of The Anxiety of Everyday Objects)

Shafak will challenge Paulo Coelho's dominance (The Independent)

An honour killing is at the centre of this stunning novel... 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)

In Honour, Shafak treats an important, absorbing subject in a fast-paced, internationally familiar style that will make it accessible to a wide readership (Sunday Times)

Fascinating and gripping - a wonderful novel (Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister)

Vivid storytelling... that explores the darkest aspects of faith and love (Sunday Telegraph)

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)

About the Author

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 thirty 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.

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More About the Author

Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. She writes in both English and Turkish, and has published 13 books, nine of which are novels, including: The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Honour and her nonfiction memoir Black Milk. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages.She has more than one and a half million followers on Twitter: @elif_safak / www.elifshafak.com
Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Defying cliches and transcending boundaries her works draws on different cultures and cities, and reflects a strong interest in history, philosophy, culture, mysticism, Sufism and gender equality.
Shafak is also a political scientist and has taught at various universities in the USA, UK and Turkey. She has written for several international daily & weekly publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times, The Independent and The World post/Huffington post.
She was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is married with two kids and divides her time between London and Istanbul.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, so sad. 16 May 2012
By Doha VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Honour opens with Iskender's release from prison.

What follows is a sad and strange alternation of pasts and present, chronicling the lives of the members of the Toprak family, and anyone connected to them: Pembe and Adem, their children - charismatic Iskender, rebellious Esma, and reserved and thoughtful Younus; their parents and their childhood, their children's adulthoods, their mistakes and their tragedies, happinesses and despair, triumphs and failures - all of it is contained in these 352 pages.

Everything leads up to or away from 30th November, 1978 - the day Iskender Toprak commits a horrifying crime. It spans decades and miles, leaping from point to point in space and time, yet always coming back to that fateful day - how did it happen, why did it happen? Who is really responsible? How does a status quo so ruthlessly cut down its victims? Who *are* the victims, or is everyone complicit, a perpetrator? I think what best sums up what underlies this book is what Shafak writes, that 'men have honour - women have shame'.

It's such a nuanced and careful writing of the cultural backdrop - doing justice not only to Eastern culture (in this case Turkish and Kurdish), but also to Western, and to the peculiar tragedy of cultural immiscibility - forgetting the obvious East/West front, Shafak protrays so many levels of difference: Kurdish/Turkish, male/female, urban/rural, rich/poor, white/non-white, married/unmarried, sonless/with sons, virgin/tainted, captive/captor, victim/aggressor - you can't point at any person and isolate them from everyone else, into a single 'differentness': their differences and sameness are liquid and overlapping, sometimes changing in a minute. There is something so...rich, textured and multilayered about Shafak's narrative.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Meynell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an agonising tale of families, love and tragic misunderstandings. But it is so acutely observed and sensitively handled that it is hard to put down. It is as much about the British immigrant experience as it is about Turkish & Kurdish culture - the clashes are inevitable.

Initially at least, it is little confusing to follow as we flit from generation to generation of one extended family. One minute we're in a very rural community on the banks of the Euphrates, the next minute we're in East London 25 years later, then we're whisked to a prison outside Shrewsbury in the early 90s. This gives it a kaleidoscopic feel - it is disorientating. But then perhaps that is the point. For just like the immigrants of the story, it's hard to know where you are at times.

The obvious theme of the book's title is a difficult one, and hard for westerners to fully appreciate. It takes an insider like Elif Shafak, who has known both worlds first hand, to be able to articulate it well. What comes across so clearly are the double standards of what is acceptable, or 'honourable' for men and women. Things are so clearly unfair - and the consequences are truly terrible. But as one hears more about so called 'honour killings' in the media, it is vital to understand the mentality behind them (if there is a logic to them at all) - and this book will go a long way to helping with that. We in the West are so atomised that our families now barely even count as nuclear - the idea of loyalties and responsibilities to wider family members seems increasingly alien. But what this book tentatively seems to suggest is that neither west nor middle east has it quite right. Extended family relationships can also be distorted and dysfunctional. Both worlds leave one crying for something better...

This is beautifully written and poignant book. And one that can only improve mutual cultural understanding.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I'm a fan of Elif Shafak, I think she's a good writer. This book was good in parts because she can write well. However, she should NOT have set this book partly in London. She should have written it directly in her native tongue and set it purely in Turkey and had it translated. I'm half Turkish and have lived in both London and Istanbul and have traveled around Anatolia. Her London set scenes do not ring true and are shallow and extremely derivative - you've read it all before, the Irish girl who's second or third word is feck and then for the rest of the book doesn't sound as Irish as the non-Irish characters. Coming from a point of view of not judging anyone but trying to show what happens she has been accurate; but because of this, it would be difficult for anyone outside the culture to grasp what she is trying to get across in this book. Also, her penchant for sentimental Lennon-esque let's all love each other quotes gets in the way of what her characters really should be saying. The book also seriously lacked tension in the dialogue and the plot, which she tried to compensate for with the switching time scale. I appreciate that the prose was 'broken' to show the broken family but it just didn't work, I found myself drifting through the book not really bothered what happened to them. Also, the racist scene in the bakery - I don't know, maybe this happened in real life to someone but it didn't ring true with me at all. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many half-formed characters
I thought the subject matter would make this a compelling book, but the multiple viewpoint characters were a distraction from the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars couldn't drop it once i started
Honest I thought and a very sad sad story. Not sure about the twist at the end though it definitely lifted the heaviness a bit from my chest.
Published 3 months ago by Su ERDEM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love Elif Shafak once again does not disappoint
Published 4 months ago by da
2.0 out of 5 stars Headache inducing
I didn't much like this. I didn't like the authors style of detailing events in such a haphazard disorganised fashion. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Persona Synthetic
5.0 out of 5 stars A slow burner, but well worth it
I'm glad I stuck with this book. At first I must admit I found it difficult to engage with, the time shifts confusing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Phill Lister
3.0 out of 5 stars Bleak
Bleak story darting around from different times. For me, not a page turner.
Published 6 months ago by double malt
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book I've ever read
Thrilling and of impressive quality. It's probably the best book I've ever read.

Elif Shafak is a goddess of literature :)
Published 6 months ago by Francesco Bernardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book
Brilliant book. Loved it from start to finish. Thought provoking as well as good all round read. Good one for the beach.
Published 6 months ago by Val Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
I was encouraged to read this book at school but I thought it wouldnt be good. Oh how i wss wrong! It is a very unique book, its a blend of cultures and time and is very... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Reviewer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, superbly written
Outstanding story and plot, this book shows the author's understanding of the various cultures and sub-cultures of the nations and times referred to. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
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