Thirteen stories, some about Olive herself and some, where Olive makes a brief appearance. Who was Olive? I think this was the remarkable part. Olive iThirteen stories, some about Olive herself and some, where Olive makes a brief appearance. Who was Olive? I think this was the remarkable part. Olive is every woman... Olive shows immense tenderness when she meets Nina the anorexic, tries her best to get her to eat, sees to it that she gets into a clinic. Gets Kevin, a student of hers on the verge of committing suicide to save a girl from drowning.How disappointed she is when her son marries that know-it-all Suzanne who takes him all the way to California only to dump him. Such sadness when they sell the beautiful house that she and her husband had built with so much love. Yes, she is vindictive when Suzanne talks of her with such disdain, her lovely dress. Sometimes you do such strange things when you are sad. But she does not accept Ann's love, although Ann tries so very hard and so much in need of love herself. What about the basket of Trips? We all have a basket of Trips. We think our life will be near perfect if not completely perfect. Do we think of illness, does cancer cross our minds? Do we think our husbands will love other women? Never. He loves us body and soul, until someone more enticing crosses our paths. We imagine our children all in Ivy League Colleges. That is when we need our Basket of Trips. Olive urges us on, tells us never to lose our passion, our zest for life, our desire to have physical relations Yes, Olive has streaks of us all. Olive is entwined in all of us. But is this Pulitzer Material? Yes, I am disappointed.
I may be sound flippant but... If it means that... I do not slaughter a beautiful strong animal for steaks. If I do not have to see lambs and calves paI may be sound flippant but... If it means that... I do not slaughter a beautiful strong animal for steaks. If I do not have to see lambs and calves patiently waiting in line to be slaughtered, knowing they are about to die. If I do not have to hear how a defenseless octopus is bashed on the rocks to have its meat tenderised. If I am spared details of how geese are force-fed till they just cannot do anything but die. The list endless... Yes I welcome Chicken Nuggets grown in petri dishes....more
This book, which looks into the life of a teenager in Finland touches on all aspects. Priska, speaks of her life at home, her friends, her utter disliThis book, which looks into the life of a teenager in Finland touches on all aspects. Priska, speaks of her life at home, her friends, her utter dislike of Maths, her disdain for Pythagoras, her confusion , ' You're not a child any longer, Priska' Priska winced. No, that was just it, but they still treated her like one. They nagged, and fussed her, and wrapped her up in cotton wool. They told her the world was a good place, full of good people, and that grown-ups must be respected. Sometimes there seemed no reason to respect them but you had to all the same, just because they were older than you. And if one tried to find anything important, like what Pappa thought about death, or whether Mamma had ever loved anybody else, they always changed the subject, which meant school talk, or Mamma saying:'Have you got enough clothes on?' It was the same when she asked about the last war, or what was in the papers. She couldn't understand why boys were still taught how to use weapons if everybody had decided there should be no more wars, but at questions like that Pappa only got annoyed and Mamma would say: 'Get on with your food dear'. Sounds familiar, the confusion?...more
**spoiler alert** Everyday, every single day there are those heart-breaking stories of people fleeing their countries, by road, crossing razor sharp b**spoiler alert** Everyday, every single day there are those heart-breaking stories of people fleeing their countries, by road, crossing razor sharp barbed wire fences. People fleeing in flimsy rubber dinghies, being caught in storms and waves, toddlers dying, flung on shores beautiful, lifeless dolls.
Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking...
And then my mind races to the beautiful, beautiful ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Bernières. My mind moves with anguish to the turn of the Century, to the Ottoman Empire with its freedom of religion, to the tiny Anatolian town of Eskibahçe, ‘The Garden of Eden’. In Eskibahçe, Turks, Greeks and Armenians live in relative peace. If the Imam’s wife felt that she had problems she ran to Philotei’s Mother a Greek. ‘Please pray to the Panagia for me...’ and without hesitation Philotei’s Mother says ‘Yes of course Sister’ rushing to make a small offering to the Panagia.
Like any other small town, Eskibahçe has all types in addition to the multifarious, races and creeds. There is Iskander the Potter, who fashions bird-whistles, filling them with water, so that they gurgle and warble much like a 'Blackbird' the nickname for Karatavuk his son, a Turk and the 'Red Robin' for Mehmetcik his son’s friend, a Greek. Iskander the Potter not only loves quotations, but makes up his own too "Man is a bird without wings, and a bird is a man without sorrows."
These two little guys, Karatavuk and Mehmetcik go about in red and black waistcoats, gurgling and warbling, inseparable until war breaks out, when they as teenagers are conscripted to fight the ‘Holy War’. Karatavuk a soldier who participates in the battle of Gallipoli in the name Allah, Mehmetcik, forced into a labour battalion because although an Ottoman, he cannot fight for his Motherland simply because he is a Greek Christian, sick to the pit of his stomach, he later defects and becomes a notorious bandit. From the day Philothei was born, everyone marveled at her beauty, but Beauty always comes at a price, as Philothei realises when as a teenager every man old or young, could not take his eyes off her and Philotei has to wear a scarf to cover her face. Philothei however, has eyes only for Ibrahim who even as a young boy followed Philotei everywhere, engaged to be married, with no impediment from either family for such marriages were common in Eskibahçe. The War however, takes away their Joy. Rustem Bey, the exceedingly handsome and rich landlord and town protector, who tolerates his adulterous wife, Tamara Hanim, for a long time and then casts her out to be stoned enthusiastically by Muslims, as well Christians. Feeling a certain loneliness he takes up a mistress, Layla who as time moves on loves him dearly, but later flees to Greece her homeland that she had left such a long time ago. Oh to speak in Greek, she exclaims, but weeps inconsolably when she writes Rustom Bey a farewell letter. These little round circles on her letter are tear drops realises Rustom Bey. Abdulhamid Hodja, the Imam, who loves his horse Niloufer, talks to her, dresses her mane with little braids, ribbons and little bells. When the army takes Nilofer away, Abdulhamid Hodja dies slowly and sadly of a broken heart. Father Kristoforos, depends on his meager congregation for sustenance, both holy men who call each other infidel, yet are good friends. The various cultures, habits blend with each other and life in Eskibahçe is quite peaceful until the War comes, War the great Interrupter.
Just when things are going on quietly and peacefully, the lives of the inhabitants of Eskibahçe are torn apart by World War I, Turkey’s subsequent war with Greece, the Armenian genocide and the forced exile of Turkish Christians to Greece and of Muslim Greeks to Turkey. War and carnage go hand in hand, the utter waste of lives, the brutality of the troops towards civilians in the name of religion and ethnic superiority is unbearable, summed up;
“In the long years of those wars there were too many who learned how to make their hearts boil with hatred, how to betray their neighbours, how to violate women, how to steal and dispossess, how to call upon God when they did the Devil’s work, how to enrage and embitter themselves, and how to commit outrages even against children. Much of what was done was simply in revenge for identical atrocities...”
In the end who was the better?
The Christians? The Muslims? They were just people in a barbaric war.
They went one better in committing atrocities; Christians butchered, maimed, raped and pillaged the Muslims. The Muslims butchered, maimed, raped and pillaged the Christians, forever repeating the vicious cycle that is history repeating itself.
The Gallipoli campaign, commemorated by the ANZAC Day on 25 April 1915, as a national day to honour those who have served their country in World War I. Strangely although bitter enemies after sometime the Turkish troops and the ANZACS share a strange comradeship, after all they share the same appalling hardships too, trenches filled with water, lice on every part of their bodies, hiding in every crevice, food gone bad and the thousands of soldiers dying not from war injuries but from diarrhea. Strangely there is a growing fellowship and respect between the Turkish and the ANZACS. They start playing games; they tease each other, and as with all prolonged battles, bond with each other as well.
"Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives. You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side Here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, Who sent their sons from far away countries Wipe away your tears, Your sons are now lying in our bosom And are in peace After having lost their lives on this land they have Become our sons as well."
The warm sentiments between Turkish and Australian nations were best voiced in the message of the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which was sent to the Australian and New Zealander mothers in 1934.Taken from Wikipedia.
The Forced exodus of Armenians in 1915, the subsequent Armenian genocide, the expulsion of Greeks from Turkey and of Muslims from Greece after the signing of the “Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations” in 1923 is the History of the Politicians, safely ensconced in their plush offices, drinking champagne, smoking cigars, huge maps on their walls with red flags indicating enemy positions, arbitrary treaties for the betterment of Nations, for ethnic cleansing, for same religions to be together. The long marches with people displaced from their homes and countries where they had lived for centuries, leaving behind their comfortable homes, their gardens, their pets, their dead in cemeteries, for some unknown land where they would live with people of same ethnic origin, and who supposedly would speak their language. People, women even pregnant ones, children, babies, marching in all types of weather, thousands upon thousands dying on the way, sometimes brutally murdered, raped, the carnage, the atrocities executed upon women and children, these are stories of common people in a War.
Who should we mourn for then? Should we not mourn the brutality that Men of all faiths are capable of inflicting on their fellow Human beings?
And 'Thereby Hangs A Tale' consists of fifteen short stories. None can be said to be extraordinary but most of them are really good and most of them aAnd 'Thereby Hangs A Tale' consists of fifteen short stories. None can be said to be extraordinary but most of them are really good and most of them are true. With some you would know 'where its leading' but with Jeffrey Archer it is not the 'where its leading'as much as the 'how did it get there'which is important. One story that really has a quirky ending and would make you laugh in disbelief is 'The Queen's Birthday Telegram'. You know that the Nurse in 'Where There's a Will' is out to get the Old Man's Inheritance but how does she do it. The other stories are good but sort of forgettable once you read a few Jeffrey Archer short stories.
"Stuck On You" "The Queen's Birthday Telegram" "High Heels" "Blind Date" "Where There's a Will" "Double-Cross" "I Will Survive'" "A Good Eye" "Members Only" "The Undiplomatic Diplomat" "The Luck of the Irish" "Politically Correct" "Better the Devil You Know" "No Room at the Inn" "Caste-Off"...more
The title as well as the synopsis intrigued me, anything about books in books is always a pleasure, but I was disappointed, the plot faded as the bookThe title as well as the synopsis intrigued me, anything about books in books is always a pleasure, but I was disappointed, the plot faded as the book unfolded, leaving nothing much but an escape from prison much like the one in 'the Count of Monte Cristo' and some silver tableware borrowed from Les Miserables. ...more