by Elif Shafak (Viking) ISBN: 9780241288047
I found this book challenging to read. It’s a look at Islam, and the dangers of dogma, through the eyes of three different women – the one who blindly follows and defends (the Believer); the one who rejects (the Sinner) and the one who constantly questions (the Confused).
Peri, the Confused, is on her way to a dinner party in Istanbul. Her handbag is stolen and in retrieving it, a polaroid of the three women falls out. This sets the story in motion. It unfolds during the course of that afternoon/evening. Through the use of extensive flashbacks to her childhood and later her time at Oxford, we gain an understanding of Peri’s constantly changing and fraught relationship with Islam. A zealous mother and cynical father highlight her internal tensions.
These tensions take on a new dimension when she attends Oxford, where she meets the Sinner and the Believer. And the alluring, but controversial Professor Azur who teaches a class on God.
Whilst there is some beautifully descriptive prose, I found that it had a tendency to distract me. This is not my kind of story, but it will appeal to those interested in a spiritual theme.
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