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The Carpet Weaver of Usak

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  40 reviews
"Springtime and early summer are always beautiful in Anatolia. Hardy winter crocuses, blooming in their thousands, are followed by blue muscari which adorn the meadows like glorious sapphires on a silk carpet."
Set amidst the timeless landscape and remote villages of Anatolia, The Carpet Weaver of Uşak is the haunting and unforgettable story of a deep friendship between tw
Paperback, 254 pages
Published September 2nd 2018 by Kathryn Gauci
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Suzi Stembridge
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gauci has always been able to spin a good yarn and set it against an accurate historical background. This story which starts gently, gathers pace wrapping up the reader in the realities and cruelty of war in the Ottoman province of Anatolia and for this reader, in particular, sorting out the reason why The Great War is more usually called World War One, (when many envisage a war fought only in the blood-soaked fields of Northern France,) ignoring the horrors endured in an area where for millenni ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kathryn Gauci really knows her stuff about carpet weaving and textiles; we see not only the patterns and colours but also the carpet loom working. She has obviously done this herself and brings this to this intimate narrative of two women loving, struggling and rejoicing in stressful times.
But in her vivid descriptions of food, fabrics and everyday Anatolian village life, Gauci doesn't spare us the horrors. She cleverly gives us a sense of dread and desolation of war but without any gratuitous
Pamela Allegretto
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kathryn Gauci’s unique, expressive writing style combines a keen artist’s eye, compassion for her multi-faceted characters, and an ardent sensitivity to detail. This beautifully-written story transports the reader to a time and place not often visited. Highly recommended.
E.J. Bauer
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated from the first chapter. The author has an extensive knowledge of carpet making, its history and craft and used this to weave a story set in Turkey around the first World War and the years that followed. Some of the events were familiar to me, while others set me on a path of research to learn more. It's a beautifully written, fascinating story and has prompted me to go in search of more titles by this author. ...more
Sandra McKenna
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story.

It is 1970 in Athens, Christophorus relates his past in Asia Minor to his grandson.
Beginning in 1914, his story tells of the once thriving carpet weaving industry, the atrocities of war, not only World War I, but the the Asia Minor Catastrophe as well. The hardships and losses that he, his family and friends, and indeed the whole country faced were astronomical.
This book is so brilliantly written and researched; it is a very moving and compelling read, and I cannot recomme
Sebnem Sanders
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Broken homes, broken lives and lasting friendships

Western Anatolia, a place where two cultures peacefully live next to each other, in their villages, Stavrodromi and Pınarbaşı, and the village square they share symbolizes their camaraderie in the form of the Fountain of the Sun and Moon. The Greek Orthodox residents and Muslim Turks celebrate each other’s traditions and learn from their respective cultures.

The female inhabitants of both villages are expert carpet weavers who sell their work to t
Barbara Denvil
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not many of us know much about the old problems between Greece and Turkey. Many small villages on both sides lived cosy blinkered lives of kindness and domestic concentration where the local Greeks and Turks were great friends and knew neither animosity nor racial jealousy. When war between the countries broke out, these villages often remained uncomfortable with the anger and killing. The Turks helped the Greeks when Turkey claimed victory. Then when Greece claimed victory, the Greeks helped th ...more
Ellie Midwood
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what an unforgettable, atmospheric read! From page one I was immersed into a world of two cultures - Greek and Turkish - which coexist peacefully in one village until the Great War breaks out and brings death and devastation to the region, uprooting populations and tearing families apart. Christophorus, a manager of a thriving carpet manufacturing and trading company, thinks himself to be blessed beyond measure with a job he loves and a new wife, Aspasia, he adores. However, he soon finds h ...more
Jeannette Modesto
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love the book. I read 'The Embroiderer' on my kindle reader. Loved it so much I ordered the hard cover for my collection. Just downloaded 'Seraphina's Song' and look forward to reading it. I lived in Greece for 12 year and some of these books always bring me back, specially to my summer house in Poros. ...more
Nicky Moxey
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most interesting!

What a terrible tale, as wars tear apart the lives of everyone in a village where previously one's religion was not more important than the warmth of your heart. It has the ring of truth about it...
Cel Jel
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another, in a group of books about the life of Greek people in the Ottoman Empire at the time that tensions became extremely high. The story is based around two couples of different heritage from a pair of villages that share a common well. Tensions rise over the course of the book to a point where a father has to make a really hard decision.
The background to the book is the carpet weaving industry, where hand knotting occurs in the villages, using the wool the carpet factory supplies. The auth
Viviane Crystal
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aspasia and Saniye, the former Greek Orthodox and the other Turkish, are two friends whose love and care for each other endures the terrible Greek-Turkish conflict between 1914 and 1919. These women live in Anatolia, a place of beauty and joy, where Greek and Turkish families celebrate frequently in the town center or meydan between the towns of Stavrodomi and Pinarbasi.
Usak is the nearby center of the carpet weaving industry. In the early period of 1914, Greeks and Turks work together to creat
Sally Archer
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
A wonderful read that takes the reader to another world before the war to end all wars. The reader is transported to world of the carpet weaver of Christophorous and his beloved Aspasia and how humans are not different the world over we just see it differently. I highly recommend it and cant wait for the author's next book. ...more
J. Victoria
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love historical novels that speak of other places and people, and The Carpet Weaver of USAK does that with flair and sensitivity. Once again Kathryn Gauci delivers a moving and thoroughly convincing story about Asia Minor, 1914 - 1923. This time she reveals to her readers the authentic lives of villagers in a small isolated hamlet in West Anatolia. The narrative’s central motif is the Fountain of the Sun and the Moon, gifted to the village by the owners of two cafes – a Greek and a Turk. The f ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first thoughts upon finishing this book is that it would be the BEST movie! This is the first book that I have read by Kathryn Gauci and I have already researched which one I want to read next. I had no idea until I read the notes at the end of the book that this was the third book in a trilogy, but it can totally be read as a stand alone. The first book is The Embroiderer and the second is Seraphina’s Song.

The story begins in 1970, Athens, with Christophorus telling his grandson his life st
Jo-anne Himmelman
Another wonderful book by Kathryn Gauci. This is a story which is impacted by the WWI. While WW1 was a result of German/Austrian conflicts, the impacts spread through Europe to Greece and Turkey.
The villagers, from both Greece and Turkey, suffered the tragedies of a war they didn’t understand. Of those villagers two lifelong friends, Aspasia and Saniye, (one Greek and the other Turk) supported each other physically and emotionally through war, childbirth, marriage, death. Both were also tied to
Janice Richardson
Rich in history and charged with emotion, Book 2 of the Asia Minor series left this reader feeling fortunate to have been born in a different time and era. Set in pre WWI and beyond, it is a historical fiction that leaves one appreciating the talent and strength of the carpet weavers and artisans of the time.
Marie (UK)
Jan 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
this was so noting completely devoid of narrative drive I know more about carpet colours than about the events the book is describing
Mary Yarde
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“I’ve read many books, listened to speakers, heard the survivor’s stories, but there always seems to be something missing; something more personal…”

“Not even death will part us, my love.” Sometimes words transcend time. If only words could halt it. Days slip by almost unseen. Months, seasons, years — all gone in the blink of an eye. What was once is no more and what is to come hardly matters. Nothing can bring her back. Nothing.

The past haunts Christophorus Plato Stavrides, and yet he never spea
Marina Osipova
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and deeply touching story
The Carpet Weaver of Usak grabbed me by the head and heart from the first page and refused to let go. In a clear and instantly captivating narrative, Gauci tells the story of the hostility that occurred between the Greek citizens of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks, similar to the old and never-ending animosity between the Turks and Armenians. Based on real events and meticulously researched, the scenes of the conflict are chilling to the bone. Set against the
Wendy Dunn
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who wants Gauci to reproduce a cooking book based on her novels? I do.

Seriously, Gauci is an amazingly accomplished author who writes seriously accomplished novels. I have read and immensely enjoyed all of Gauci's works, and was equally impressed with The Carpet Weaver of Usak, her latest full length novel. Just like Gauci's other works, it effortlessly immerses the reader in a time and place with important lessons for our times.

The Carpet Weaver of Usak is a true page turner and kept me readi
S.C. Karakaltsas
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in a village called Stavrodomi not far from the town of Usak, Anatolia, a Greek couple, Christophorous and his young bride, Aspasia live an idyllic life, side by side with their Turkish neighbours who call their half of the village, Pinarbasi. Christophorous works for the Anatolian Carpet Manufacturers Ltd as a carpet manager and Aspasia is a carpet weaver who weaves the most sought after pieces with her long time Turkish friend, Saniye. The demand for quality carpets is high and life is goo ...more
Susan Appleyard
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great story well told
There are two villages in Anatolia. Pinarbaşi is Turkish, Stravrodromi is Greek. The only thing that divides them is a road. Their people live together in complete harmony. In reading about the relationship between the two villages, I got a sense that the march of time had left them behind. Mention of a caravanserai, camel trains, goat-herders, and the excitement produced in the women by a chiming clock, all suggest a simple people living simple lives according to a simple e
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Earlier this year I read Kurt Seyit and Sura, set during the Russian Revolution and moving into Ataturk’s war for Turkish independence. Kurt Seyit shows the Russia, the Crimea, and Istanbul through the eyes of a wealthy soldier and his lover. The Carpet Weaver of Usak is a much more intimate book. It looks at life in Anatolia in two villages, Stavrodromi and Pınarbaşı, joined by a common fountain in which Greek Orthodox Christians and Turkish Muslims live in harmony. The towns are small enough a ...more
Walter Van praag
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite what one would imagine, I've not been reading much ever since the Covid break... I started this book a while ago and had trouble warming up to it. It was difficult to remember the character names for me and the going was a little slow for a seemingly long time as the author was setting up the peaceful scene of carpet weaving in Turkey with its mix of Greek and Turkish villagers. Then the book picked up pace with the start of WWI and began to be a compelling read, rewarding me for perseve ...more
Elizabeth Gayle
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Carpet Weavers of Usak

The Carpet Weavers of Usak
Set in Asia Minor in the Anatolia area of Turkey, this magnificent book is about love and close friendships between a Greek Orthodox woman, and a Turkish Muslim Woman and their families Both were carpet weavers and would work together on many projects together, This takes place during WW1 and the political upheavals of Asia Minor. The wars decimated several towns and their way of life. This book helps you to feel the anxiety, pain, fear, and pa
H.M. Holten
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poignant and well-researched
Anatolia at the beginning of the Great War. The Greek and the Turks live in peace in a double village. They work together but there is a clear divide. Then the assassination in Sarajevo pivots their world into the war that would kill a generation of young men and destroy the Ottoman Empire. This is the backdrop for the Carpet Weaver of Usak, a heart-wrenching saga, of loss and war, but also of great love. To be precise, it’s more than that. Gauci shows a deep knowledg
Yvonne Payne
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I expected to enjoy this book so saved it for a time when I could settle down and read without distraction - just as well, as it is absorbing. The accuracy of the historical content and setting of this story are not laboured. Instead facts are woven into the fabric of the story, bringing it alive with authenticity and texture. This might be the story of one family and two friends but it reflects the stories of many. If you enjoyed Birds without Wings, by Louis de Bernières this should go on your ...more
Luke Harris
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sensitively written and historically accurate account of lives caught up in the disastrous entry of Turkey into World War One. Hard as it is to imagine today, Greek and Turkish people lived alongside in Anatolia, as they had for centuries. The author conjures up a small village involved in the highly skilled carpet weaving trade, and depicts both Greek and Turkish characters with great affection and skill. The small details of their lives are handled very well and one comes to care for everyon ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it
It was interesting to read a story set in a place and time that I only know a little about. As a New Zealander, I know a little about the battles that took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula, but other than that my understanding is hazy. This is a much broader story than that and I appreciate my new-found knowledge. Having said that, I will only be recommending this book to friends who show an interest in World War I stories.
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