It is 1999 when a catastrophic earthquake hits Turkey. This book of fiction tells the story of 2 families that have different faiths, viewpoints, and from different countries who live in the same building.
Sinan and his family are Kurdish who have just celebrated their sons becoming a man. Marcus and his family are from the USA and are there teaching at a private school who live upstairs. At the time of the earthquake, Sinan’s son was nearly killed from being thrown out of the building once the earthquake hit, and Marcus’ wife gave her life to save Sinan’s son who were both buried underneath the rubble.
This is what begins the relationship of the 2 families, which is built on a rocky foundation from the beginning like the building that they lived in which is now reduced to rubble.
Sinan’s daughter Irem and Marcus’ son Dylan strike up a friendship that quickly becomes a romance. Irem is fascinated by Dylan’s culture, and what he is allowed to do, when she is destined to become a housewife – cooking and cleaning once she is married and has children like her mother. She wants to experience what other things are out in the world, or just around the corner of where they live so that she will have a choice. But her parents are adamant that she will conduct herself according to their religion, morals and values they have tried to instill into her and her younger brother.
Although being told that she is not to associate with Dylan, she does it anyways, with no regard to her families reputation in the refugee camp where they are staying until either Sinan can raise enough money to be able to move back to their home further north, or the government steps in with aid and relieves the Americans that have set up the refugee camp. At least, that is the plan.
With Sinan, he makes mistakes along the way, that will directly and indirectly change not only his life but the lives of his family forever.
There are some really great similarities in regards to these 2 families – The desire to raise their families according to their religious and personal morals and values, The differences in faiths, and the trying to understand each other in the face of chaos and adversity. But on the other hand, the clashes that ensue – the differences in religions, and that for a short period of time Irem gets what she thought she wanted, but changes her mind thinking it isn’t so bad. And the Americans that have set up the camp, who are trying to convert the Muslim children to Christianity.
Thoughtfully written with such an attention to detail, Alan Drew gives us an honest account of trying and attempting to do the right thing without the regard to sugarcoat and dismiss the real issues that affect not only these families but others around the world that are dealing with these same issues on a day to day basis.
This is Alan Drew’s first published book, and it has taken 4 years to write. I look forward to more of his work.
Thanks to Random House for sending me this great novel !