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on 16 November 2008
The Stone Woman is a superb book: voluptuous, exotic - with relevant political savvy thrown in. Here is an example of Tariq's wisdom: "He was excited by the events of the day. He spoke of the young officer who had made what was really difficult sound possible, namely to make progressive ideas a reality. So often in the past, lofty ideas had been transformed into their opposites, when those who had proclaimed them actually came to power. This had happened in France after the revolution, but it had happened here (Turkey) as well. Whenever the reformers had been made Viziers, their ideas disappeared and they were compelled to govern the Empire in the only way they knew, which was the old way." T. Ali reminds me of another evocative writer from whom one learns much - Amin Maalouf.
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on 2 July 2000
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, 26 June 200O: The Ottoman Empire, known as the 'sick man of Europe' in the 19th century, continues its slow, steady decline in the summer of 1899 as elderly Iskander Pasha (a descendant of gthe Sultan's favourite courtier) and his well-born family gather outside their sea-side palace outside Istanbul. Ali explores the complexities of the Ottoman mentality in his fifth outing, a colourful sensual drama of families, sexual intrigue and rebellion...... Ali's epic combines the luxuriant pacing of the old-fashioned novel of ideas with the 20th century relish for sexual detail to conjure up an almost Chekhovian mileu.
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on 21 June 2005
Very moving, very informative, stunning language, believeable characters, great story - we reviewed this book in our village bookclub - no one had a bad word to say about it! I found this book to be story and character driven, not politically motivated at all, and very well written.
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on 10 July 2015
I love Tariq Ali's writing - beautiful descriptions - transporting and informative. I have read two others of the quintet so far, and must say this is one one i enjoyed the least - not sure it conveyed the 'era' quite as effectively as the first two. But still a thoroughly good read.
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on 28 September 2014
My favourite of the series. well paced and characters that you believe in
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on 24 June 2004
Prior to reading this novel, I had read Tariq Ali's 'Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree', which had set some high expectations. However I found the book to be quite disappointing. It seems to be nothing more than a collection of short stories loosely strung together, which neither move or inspire and seem almost irrelevant to each other.
The novel is also spoilt by the blatant creation of certain characters that are nothing more than a vehicle for the writer's own political opinions. There are many heavy-handed political interludes more in the nature with the author trying to lecture the reader, than part of the story's intrinsic motif.
If you enjoyed Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree then this novel will disappoint you.
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