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City of Man's Desire: A Novel of Constantinople

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3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  23 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Constantinople 1908: the cosmopolitan capital of the Ottoman Empire teeters on the brink of upheaval. Turks dream of liberty while the subject peoples yearn for freedom – not necessarily the same thing. Far from the turmoil of Constantinople, in the Anatolian hinterland, archeologists are excavating an ancient city. There they uncover a past that seems to hold within it a ...more
Kindle Edition, 430 pages
Published 2004 by Go-Bos Press
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Rhoda
May 08, 2012 Rhoda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Firstly, I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review this book, as I won it as part of First Reads.

You will have a love affair with Constantinople while reading this book, as the details are so vivid and absorbing. Constantinople is the main character in this book and you will feel that this is one character that you will get to know intimately.

The book is full of interesting characters, all of whom experience a great change to their lives....as does the country at th
...more
Katie Mercer
Mar 04, 2012 Katie Mercer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was lucky enough to have won this book in a Goodreads contest. To be totally upfront, I probably would not have bought it on my own. That's not a fact though - I love anything historical (well documented) and have a weird love for Constantinople - or at least the romance of what I imagine Constantinople was. There are a few cities that I feel that way about - Marrakesh, Constantinople, Vienna... cities I would love to visit just because I've built them up in my mind. People always tell me I'll ...more
Lara Kleinschroth
Mar 25, 2012 Lara Kleinschroth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a First Reads Giveaway, and promptly devoured it. Took me a little while to devour, since it is quite long, but not unnecessarily so. Like all good historical fiction about a particular city, this is a love letter to that city, and the city itself is a major character. Golna does a fantastic job of drawing the reader into the heart of the city - one can virtually smell the spices in the market, see the vivid colors of the bolts of cloth and beautiful dresses, taste the se ...more
Waven
This novel is somewhat difficult to wrap up in a few short paragraphs. Above all, it truly is a novel of place, capturing a segment of Constantinople in the days just before and shortly after the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. The ancient city breaks out of its well-worn rhythms and greets the surprising and bloodless revolution in various ways, seen often through the eyes of Theodora Vlachos. Theodora is a young woman of some means, well-educated, tired of the routine, and poorly met in suitors ...more
Shannon
Mar 01, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads

In 1908 big changes are starting in Constantinople. The future becomes uncertain and the past may hold the clues of what to expect. The change forces people to reevaluate their paths and this novel tells the story of how the lives of several people, who are all connected, face the change that’s happening all around them.
I am a little speechless. I had a hard time writing a synopsis because it’s hard to do this novel justice. For me, this wasn’t about the story as much as it was about the escape
...more
Jenny Franklin
Mar 27, 2012 Jenny Franklin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received City of Man's Desire: A Novel of Constantinople by Cornelia Golna as a First Reads Giveaway. I thought it was a very good book. It was so well written and the descriptions of the city were amazing and the story just drew you in. It was a bit of a read,it took me a bit longer to read than most books, but after finishing it I didn't mind the length. I loved everything about this book, the author did an amazing job at making you feel like you were right there in the story. I have already ...more
Tami
Mar 27, 2012 Tami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing read from start to finish. An excellent depiction of social/political life of Constantinople during the 1908 uprisings as viewed through interesting characters - some we like, some not so much.
Louis
Mar 28, 2012 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it moved right along, with only a few slow parts and some parts I didn't think added anything to the story. Having spent the past few months learning about empires, it was interesting to read a book on empires. I highly recommend this book to others.
Erin
Mar 28, 2012 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was eye-opening to me as far as the development of Constantinople and the surrounding areas. Having previously known nothing of the history I was pleased to learn about the cultural background (including various nationalities that were key to changes in power), the land layout (rivers, mountain ranges, even climate) and basically become more familiar with this region of the world around the time Constantinople was undergoing revolution and changing to the Istanbul we know today. While ...more
Jane
May 18, 2014 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm being kind with a 2** rating. This novel was not what I hoped it would be: more about the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, why, and how its aftermath affecting local ethnic groups. None of the characters is likeable except Pasha Ibrahim and his daughter, Eminé. Most of the Turks were young men given to overuse of hashish. These started that revolution? Yech! The novel presented a Russian brother and sister who I felt misrepresented themselves--not really evil, but manipulative. I kept wishing ...more
Catherine Gordon


I was fortunate enough to win this book through Goodreads. It is an interesting read that combines a political historical context, some Jane Austen type sections which provided insights into the opportunities for eligible young ladies in terms of potential husbands. There is also another aspect of archaeology and superstition in a rural town where there is the discovery of an ancient ritual and the death of local children. The ending was somewhat bleak as the male characters proved to be weak i
...more
Yasemin
Mar 27, 2012 Yasemin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I came upon this draw coincidentally when I searched for the title of the book. I bought a kindle version of this book, because I couldn't find its print version. I am glad to see that they are printing it now, and I would like to have the new edition of the book in my collection.
Michelle
Mar 27, 2012 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Since this was a first reads gift, I feel really bad that I didn't complete this book, and worse still that I didn't like it. It was just boring to me, and the style of writing was really hard to get in to... I'm sorry Cornelia Golna... I really tried.
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Cornelia Golna (corneliagolna.com) grew up and studied in the United States. The child of a Greek father and a Romanian mother, she left America as a young woman to search for her roots, a journey that took her to Greece and Turkey, ultimately to communist Romania. She was inspired by her odyssey to delve deeper into the past of her parents' Balkan world to its fascinating predecessor, the dying O ...more
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