Betsy Ashton's Reviews > Forty Thorns

Forty Thorns by Judy Light Ayyildiz
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Aug 25, 13

Read from July 11 to August 20, 2013

I knew nothing about the role Turkey played in various early 20th century wars until Judy Ayyildiz introduced me to Adalet, whose life was set against a sweeping panorama of the Balkan Wars, the fall of the Ottoman empire, the rise of Ataturk.

We meet Adalet shortly after her death. Lee, the narrator, is Adalet's American daughter-in-law. Through flashbacks Adalet's story emerges through beautiful prose and soaring landscape.

Adalet marries young and unwisely as it turns out. At first she calls her husband Burhan "Handsome" but he's not always kind. Through a tumultuous marriage, seven children, multiple infidelities on Burhan's part, Adalet holds the family together, remembering that she's the granddaughter of Emin Aga from Thrace and putting her faith in Ataturk and the rise of modern Turkey.

Read today against the troubles going on in the Middle East and in Turkey in particular, the novel gives great perspective on the challenges of creating a modern, democratic state in a region torn by centuries of strife.

This book should be savored, read slowly with a good cup of hot tea at the elbow. The language is lyrical, the setting spectacular. You don't want to miss a word.
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Reading Progress

07/11/2013 marked as: currently-reading
08/25/2013 marked as: read

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