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De la part de la princesse morte

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,443 ratings  ·  168 reviews
«Ceci est l'histoire de ma mère, la princesse Selma, née dans un palais d'Istanbul...»
Ce pourrait être le début d'un conte ; c'est une histoire authentique qui commence en 1918 à la cour du dernier sultan de l'Empire ottoman.
Selma a sept ans quand elle voit s'écrouler cet empire. Condamnée à l'exil, la famille impériale s'installe au Liban. Selma, qui a perdu à la fois son
Hardcover, 600 pages
Published September 12th 1999 by Robert Laffont (first published 1987)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,443 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a little over ten years ago before I had gone to Turkey, not knowing that one day I would travel and live there for a time. I would see it on the shelf almost every time I'd go to the library, so one day I decided to check it out because I love stories about royalty and the title sounded beautifully tragic.

Regards From the Dead Princess is Kenize Mourad's reconstruction of the life of a mother she never knew. Raised in Paris, Mourad found out some years into her life that her m
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, ionia
What a gem! Other reviews have ranged from "the best book I ever read" to "I couldn't get into it." I fall into the former camp. This book was fascinating. Only two things prevents its garnering 5 stars: One is that the style occasionally becomes choppy and disjointed. Whether this is a fault of the translation rather than of the original is impossible for me to tell. The other is that there are some glaring editing errors that are too jarring to overlook. Those aside, this is the incredible sto ...more
Kamal Anwar
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tremendous historical novel set in Turkey (1910-20), Lebanon (1920-30), India (1930-40) and France (1939-41). Based on the story of the author’s mother.

The protagonist, Ottoman princess Selma, is kind of an anti-hero. In the beginning, when she is 8-9, its kind of funny, maybe a bit charming, that she often behaves like a spoiled princess. At the end, when she is closing in on her 30s, and still is behaving the same way, it’s not as much anymore. Yet her compelling fate is interesting.

The no
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book in one week!! It is the most amazing, colorful, detailed, description of Middle East culture during the time of Turkish Empire, its end and the beginning of First World War. But is also a love story, and the author's research results about her biological parents.

Lei este libro en una semana! Es la historia mas colorida, increible y detallada acerca del Oriente Medio en tiempos de la Primera Guerra Mundial.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another one of my big time favorites. Kenizé Mourad, a journalist, is in fact the great-grand-daughter of the last Ottoman Sultan and 'la princesse morte' is her mother whom she never knew (she died when Kenizé was one year old) and whose very unusual life story she tries to reconstruct. Beautiful. Showing how some people just can always happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and yet how unconditional love can win in the end - otherwise Kenizé Mourad would never have survived.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm half way through and I am so frustrated by this princess' inability to enjoy life. It feels like she is complaining all the time. She says she wants to be loved but she doesn't "love" back.

Finally finished, no really... Finally! She does finally learn what love is but the book ends soon after that. No more spoiler alert from me.

I think I would have liked the story more if it was written from the eunuch's point of view. I feel like he and the author had a similar desire to "know" who Selma r
Patricia Ibarra
This book gives us an idea of the life in Eastern cultures, but I found it too repetitive. It was boring and I had to make an effort to finish it.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing read and it's based on a true story. Mourad fills in the blanks and her research was extensive.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the book interesting in many ways. The fact that it's a novel, but based on a real life, and such an interesting one at that, peaks my curiosity. I want to learn more about the author's journey of discovery about her parents and the degree to which the story is supported by her research. She does not shy away from an apparently honest depiction of her mother as spoiled, impulsive, insecure, and starved for affection, but also strong and determined. She would have had to have been so to h ...more
Daniela Fc
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into the book, but i have to admit the more i read it the more i liked it.
i devoured the last chapters... Eager to know how selma's story would end during WW2.
I gave it 4 stars because in some parts the book is just a bit repetitive and somehow slow. Even though the "india" part was quite good, i found it just way too long. It could have been written in half the pages.
Interesting because it spans the fall of the Ottoman Empire, changes in India (including a different perspective on the influence of Ghandi), and Paris during WWII. Main character is kind of unlikeable, though.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a compelling account of the Ottoman family severed brutally from their homeland. This book is not one of your Harlequin novels as may suggest the cover to some. It could have been more concise,but over all it is worth your money and time.
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, owned-books
This is a highly readable novel, proving mountains of information and excellent insights into three cultures: French, Indian and Turkish. A lesson in history and a beautiful story of personal challenges, despair and hardships.
This book is based on the true life of the authors mother who was a granddaughter of the last Ottoman sultan.
It covers part of the time span as Birds Without Wings but goes on until WW2. Like Birds Without Wings, this book could have been edited down at least 100 pages. Otherwise very much enjoyed it and would like to read more books by the same author.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent a weekend reading this book, and then spent years thinking about it. Not because it was good (it is), but because I've forgotten the title and wanted to read it again.

I finally found it again a couple of days ago and I think maybe I'll re-read it!
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book ever!
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written novel. Excellent documentation of an important period of the Ottoman Empire. I highly recommend it for any one interested in the history of the Middle East.
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly complex, a piece of history that you weren't aware of, unless you are an expert in Turkish culture. Love, betrayal and politics in a very well written mix.
Carolyn Crocker
Not really a novel and definitely not a biography, this saga seeks through research and “intuition” and “imagination” to portray a mother’s life, to understand her choices, and thus to know someone who died when the author was barely a year old. Its flaws are outweighed by the exotic settings and historic cultural moment, 1918-1940, in which Selma’s life, as Ottoman Princess and Maharani of Badalpur, plays out.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a wonderful read, the historical part makes you want to know more about the geopolitical forces that have built the world we live in today.
Selma is an excellent character that you learn to love with all her flaws.
I like how she grows with her misadventures and how she keen are her observations regarding her environment.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: livres
Even knowing that the ending is going to be tragic and even knowing that the tone of the book has to change, I just can't stand reading about the period of the Golden Age all of these rich spoiled people.
Nikad Naspavana
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. It is impossible to put this book down until it is read.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It starts well, describing the somehow pointless life of this Turkish princess, her palace, her mother, her siblings... then the Sultana and her daughter are sent to live abroad, in Berlin and there starts an endless and detailed description of their somehow pointless lives in Beirut. Then some Indian prince asks the Sultana's daughter in marriage, she accepts and travels to India where she is shocked by the totally different culture that greets her. This is the less boring part of the book, alt ...more
Agrika Puspita
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was reading this book around 3 years ago, while working on my translation homework. i must admit that i was fascinated on her choice of words and also the consequences of every event. by reading this book, i figured out many many things about the Ottoman, more importantly how Selma sees the revolution and revolution just in front of her eyes. it is fascinating how she struggle to be herself and not totally imposed and constructed by the society. it got more difficult when she is exiled, then m ...more
Carmen Gómez-Cotta
I did like the story but I read it in Spanish and it was such a bad translation that made me not enjoy the book as much as I expected I would.
The story of Selma Rauf Hanim, the Otoman sultan's granddaughter. With her we walk into the Istanbul sultan's family life, full of luxury and opulence; then we witness the loss of everything due to the IWW and how they're forced to disperse their family into different Mediterranean countries; we follow her to her arranged marriage to Pakistani prince that
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a really really long time to get into this book but when I finally got into it I couldn't put it down. Such a sad beautiful story. I found myself wondering how the main character was able to make the choices that she did at the beginning but towards the end I ended up really compassionate for her. I still wish I could go back into the story and help her rewrite her history. So sad that she fought so hard for freedom and in the end her daughter will have to grow up the same she did. Bu ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was a rather accurate, from my general historic knowledge, of the times the princess was alive. I didn't find it to be a book that you can't put down, but it was a pleasant read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the historic progress of a person's life with a twist of a fictional romantic novel. Overall I did enjoy the book, but for someone with not much time I would recommend reading it during a vacation.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main character of the book is the author's mother. Throughout the book we see Selma as the way her daughter wants to see her. But i find it bizarre how the author portrays her as a dissatisfied, unhappy, whiny woman. This is the first time i totally hated the main character of the book. As for the history part the author touches upon, i feel pity to see how she wants to defend her ancestors for their mistakes and create a new history to make herself more comfortable about her family's past.
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A biography of an Ottoman princess who lived through the era of the falling Ottoman Empire.
I can only say: Impressive journey!!!

(the translation is not great). One star is off for the translation.

the original biography is in French.

English Translation (recently found):

I read it in 2009.
Very interesting if you are into Middle East history during the late 1800's and early 1900's up to WWII. I found the story interesting, but slow in some parts. The insight to the variations in the Muslim religion was also fascinating. Glad I am not a princess and that I don't live in a country where women are forbidden to be looked at by men :-)
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Kenizé Mourad est une romancière et journaliste française d'origine turco-indienne.

Née à Paris en 1940, Kenizé de Kotwara est la fille d’une princesse turque, membre de la Dynastie ottomane (petite-fille du sultan Mourad V par sa mère Hatidjé Sultane) mariée à un rajah indien mais réfugiée à Paris. Orpheline de sa mère peu après sa naissance, elle est élevée dans un milieu catholique.

À l’âge de 20
“Ah! On est toujours en faute, ou parce qu'on n'aime pas assez, ou parce qu'on aime trop.” 5 likes
“Mandamientos y prohibiciones -dijo-, son altas murallas que se levantan para alcanzar el cielo, pero cuanto más altas se alzan más se encoge el cielo, y pronto no se ve más que un cuadrado azul miserable, que no tiene nada de cielo, que sólo es un cuadrado azul. Nos hablan de escaleras de mármol y tronos de oro, un mundo tan muerto como su moral. No comprenden que el cielo es la vida en su multiplicidad infinita; ¿cómo iba a estar la vía hacia el infinito rodeada de murallas?” 2 likes
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