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Sailing Through Byzantium Paperback – 4 Jan 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Linen Press; 1st edition (Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957596812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957596818
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 521,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Sunday Times Books of the Year 2103 'The 1962 Cuban missile crisis provides a threatening hinterland to this novel focused on Istanbul's raffishly bohemian American expat colony. Comic mishaps and painful predicaments are silhouetted against the old imperial capital's melancholy, mouldering grandeur.' - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times Books of the Year 2013 'Freely's roman à clef is compulsively readable, thought-provoking and entertaining.' - The Independent 'Sailing Through Byzantium glints with ironic wit . . . Haunting vignettes heighten the melancholy that coexists with sardonic flair and narrative bustle in this engaging novel.' - Sunday Times 'In Sailing through Byzantium, Maureen Freely's Istanbul is an absorbing Never-Never Land, a place of wild parties and refuge for social pariahs. This book is full of surprises . . . the cover with its moody close-up of a solemn child gives no clue about its level of intrigue, or its cleareyed prose.' - Times Literary Supplement ' Finely calibrated, compassionate and compellingly observed, Sailing Through Byzantium is a triumph.' - Jason Goodwin, Cornucopia 'History pours through this wonderful novel, but refracted through a young girl's enchantment and dread. This is the story of a country, a city, a family, a scared child, in which memory throws the past into a kaleidoscopic pattern, vivid and always changing. In other words: quite fabulous!' - Nicci Gerrard 'Rich, seductive, exciting.' - Maggie Gee 'What Freely does succinctly and memorably is conjure up the picture of Turkey in the 1960s - how odd, how romantic and how mysterious it must have seemed to a young child from distant America. And what a gift to the reader.' - Alison Coles, BookOxygen

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating and moving, this is the story of a child caught up in events she hardly understands. The narrator's key-hole view gives us glimpses of the lies and rumours that shadow the characters and their actions. A complex, believable picture of Istanbul's vivid ex-pat society, captured at a unique moment in history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Istanbul and I love Maureen Freely's books! The city is not just the backdrop but an integral part of the stories she tells, stories which could take place nowhere else on earth. In this book she weaves real events with the imaginings of a young girl to evoke a pivotal time in recent history, a time which also marks a turning point in the child's life. Freely's experience of growing up in Istanbul allows her to recreate the many facets of the city's atmosphere and enables her portrayal of life in a niche community, which lives on the edge of Turkish society. As someone who has lived in Turkey and written about it, I can only stand back in awe and admiration at Freely's ability to understand and communicate a special time and place.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I must first be honest and declare an interest here in that I picked up this book, which is not my usual fare, because it was by one of my academic colleagues. In my role I do like to read a range of academic colleagues stuff, be it arts or science etc, where and when I have a reasonable chance of comprehending it.

However I was pleased that I did pick up the book as two elements of it did stand out for me. I loved the idea of the Cuban missile crisis seen not only through the eyes of a child, but also as seen through the very different geography of the oft forgotten Turkish aspect of that crisis.

The reference to Turkey takes me to the second element that intrigued me which was the city of Istanbul. This city keeps cropping up in my reading, last time in Ian McDonald's The Dervish House (Gollancz S.F.), and Maureen Freely's book has only added to my wish to see the city for real, and it also leads to read more of Maureen's stuff.

Unfortunately for me I appear to have started in very much the wrong order of her stories as I now find this book is the latest to feature some recurring characters of hers Oh well I better go backwards to Enlightenment now. That last sentence of mine sounds like I have started writing cod philosophical statements so I had better stop now.
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