Birds Without WingsLarge Print - 2004
Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in southwest Turkey (Anatolia) in the early part of the last century — a quirky community in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully over the centuries and where friendship, even love, has transcended religious differences.
But with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the onset of the Great War, the sweep of history has a cataclysmic effect on this peaceful place: The great love of Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim, a Muslim shepherd who courts her from near infancy, culminates in tragedy and madness; Two inseparable childhood friends who grow up playing in the hills above the town suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of the bloody struggle; and Rustem Bey, a wealthy landlord, who has an enchanting mistress who is not what she seems.
Far away from these small lives, a man of destiny who will come to be known as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is emerging to create a country from the ruins of an empire. Victory at Gallipoli fails to save the Ottomans from ultimate defeat and, as a new conflict arises, Muslims and Christians struggle to survive, let alone understand, their part in the great tragedy that will reshape the whole region forever.
Baker & Taylor
During the final days of the Ottoman Empire, the young men of the village are instructed to battle the invading forces during the Great War and destroy the peace.
Blackwell North Amer
It is the story of a small coastal town in South West Anatolia in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire told in the richly varied voices of the people - Christians and Muslims of Turkish and Greek and Armenian descent - whose lives are rooted there, intertwined for untold years. There is Iskander, the potter and local font of proverbial wisdom; Karatavuk - Iskander's son - and Mehmetcik, childhood friends whose playground stretches across the hills above the town, where Mehmetcik teaches the illiterate Karatavuk to write Turkish in Greek letters. There are Father Kristoforos and Abdulhamid Hodja, holy men of different faiths who greet each other as "Infidel Efendi"; Rustem Bey, the landlord and protector of the town, whose wife is stoned for the sin of adultery. There is a man known as "the Dog" because of his hideous aspect, who lives among the Lycian tombs; and another known as "the Blasphemer," who wanders the town cursing God and all of his representatives of all faiths. And there is Philothei, the Christian girl of legendary beauty, courted from infancy by Ibrahim the goatherd - a great love that culminates in tragedy and madness. But Birds Without Wings is also the story of Mustafa Kemal, whose military genius will lead him to victory against the invading Western European forces of the Great War and a reshaping of the whole region.
In a small town in Anatolia in the finals days of the Ottoman Empire, the lives of its inhabitants--Armenians, Christians, and Muslims--peacefully intertwine, until Mustafa Kemal, a powerful military leader, conscripts the young men of the village to battle the invading Western European forces during the Great War, and religious fanaticism and nationalism destroy the peace. (Historical Fiction)
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“The word ‘Ottoman’ would fall into disuse and disrepute until such time as the inevitable revisions of later days, when the world would realise that the Ottoman Empire had been cosmopolitan and tolerant.”
“Give me nice polite hypocrisy any time, which is something all of us could profitably learn from the English.” No offence to the English - after all, the author is British.
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