Richard's Reviews > The Dervish House

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
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's review
Aug 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in August, 2011

A twisting dance as six stories entwine in the heart of near future Istanbul. The old world and the ultra new, the ancient and the nascent future whirl together around the old Dervish House in Adem Dede Square.
Heat struck Istanbul, at once archaic and enigmatic then industrial and grimy, but also thrusting and modern, the palpitating heart of new European future Turkey, the crossroads of East and West, makes a fascinating and atmospheric setting as the stories spiral ever faster around each other and around the Dervish House.

The young Turk financier an Ultralord of the Universe, his wife the purveyor of antique and holy art. The old Greek economist, the grandson he never had a fragile but inquisitive and brilliant boy in a cloistered world. A sociopath rescued by his Islamist brother and his sect of street judges. The family girl from the countryside pushing her way ahead in the frenetic business world of the city with her extended family and their bleeding edge nano tech brainchild. All their stories interweave twist and sway together, touching each other holding on then whirling off again, spinning to individual climax and a collective crescendo that leaves the dancers breathless as the heatwave breaks and the sun sets over the Bosphorous and peace descends over the Queen of Cities.

This is a wonderful mix of story and atmosphere, characters and ideas, relationships and politics, history and the future, the big and the small, but never losing the human scale of love, loss and desire. This is Science Fiction because of the future politics and yet to be born technology, but it is beautiful storytelling whatever the genre.

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08/18/2011 page 420
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