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Birds Without Wingsby Louis de Bernieres
"So much is remarkable about this novel, from the heft of its history to the power of its legends. In this great bazaar of family life and international politics, the bittersweet metaphor of 'birds without wings' grows deeper and richer....This epic about the tragedy of borders is likely to cross all borders, moving readers everywhere as it describes the harrowing cost of remaking faraway places in the image of our dreams." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & Reviews
In his first novel since Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history.
The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It's a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn't Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.
"One of the most engrossing novels I've read all year....Everyone in this cast of characters is someone memorable, and their lives and fates intertwine to make a marvelously engaging story..." Chicago Tribune
"It would be foolish to deny that there are great things herein, but their author's laboriously shouldered agenda goes a long way toward undermining them. Enormously readable, intermittently brilliant, honorably conceived and felt — and very deeply flawed." Kirkus Reviews
"Louis de Bernieres's overstuffed new novel is an absorbing epic about the waning years of the Ottoman Empire — but you may need to develop your own mental filing system to keep up with all its characters and incident." The New York Times Book Review
"A fascinating, evocative work written on a grand scale not much seen today. Despite its flaws, it is as rich and compelling as any novel written about the Anatolian upheaval." The Washington Post
"Louis de Bernieres is in the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh...[H]e has only to look into his world, one senses, for it to rush into reality, colours and touch and taste." A. S. Byatt
"[A] sweeping account of the rise of modern Turkey and the last days of the Ottoman Empire....[I]ntensely personal." Newsday
"Dazzling...a fabulous book in the tradition of Tolstoy and Dickens....So joyous and heartbreaking, so rich and musical and wise, that reading it is like discovering anew the enchanting power of fiction." San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Louis de Bernieres's first three novels are The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts (Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best First Book Eurasia Region, 1991), Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord (Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book Eurasia Region, 1992), and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. The author was selected by Granta as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Corelli's Mandolin won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book, in 1995. His last book was Red Dog, published in 2001.
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