An outstanding first novel
Ever since I read “The Kite Runner” I have been intrigued with the differences between the “American” way of life and that of our fellow world citizens in the East. It is a daunting task and challenges me constantly to keep an open mind.
Alan Drew, in this first novel, tackles the problem courageously. In Chapter One he introduces us to the family of Sinan Basioglu, a devout Kurdish Muslim, living in a small town outside of Istanbul. A celebration takes place to honor his nine year old son who is coming of age and, very reluctantly and at the insistence of his wife, Sinan invites the American family living on the floor above to join them.
The next night the devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake destroys their apartment building and takes the life of the American wife. She is found among the debris shielding the young Kurdish son with her body, an action that has saved his life. Much to the dismay of Sinan he finds that he will now be forever indebted to the American family.
The rest of the book takes place in the months that follow the earthquake. The intense conflict between cultures and faiths is chronicled with depth and compassion by Alan Drew. The reader is drawn into their lives and comes away with a greater understanding of the differences between East and West.
This is not an easy, “feel good”, novel. However, it was one of the best that I’ve read in a long time. I congratulate Alan Drew on his first undertaking and hope that this will be the first of many.