Gardens of Water: A Novel

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Feb 5, 2008 - Fiction - 352 pages
27 Reviews
Powerful, emotional, and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s stunning first novel brings to life two unforgettable families–one Kurdish, one American–and the sacrifice and love that bind them together.

In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan Basioglu, a devout Muslim, and his wife, Nilüfer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son’s coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, İrem, resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents. For her, there was no such festive observance–only the wrapping of her head in a dark scarf and strict rules that keep her hidden away from boys and her friends. But even before the night of the celebration, İrem has started to change, to the dismay of her Kurdish father. What Sinan doesn’t know is that much of her transformation is due to her secret relationship with their neighbor, Dylan, the seventeen-year-old American son of expatriate teachers.

İrem sees Dylan as the gateway to a new life, one that will free her from the confines of conservative Islam. Yet the young man’s presence and Sinan’s growing awareness of their relationship affirms Sinan’s wish to move his family to the safety of his old village, a place where his children would be sheltered from the cosmopolitan temptations of Istanbul, and where, as the civil war in the south wanes, he hopes to raise his children in the Kurdish tradition.

But when a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. Losing everything, they are forced to forage for themselves, living as refugees in their own country. And their survival becomes dependent on their American neighbors, to whom they are unnervingly indebted. As love develops between İrem and Dylan, Sinan makes a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal that will change everyone’s lives forever.

The deep bonds among father, son, and daughter; the tension between honoring tradition and embracing personal freedom; the conflict between cultures and faiths; the regrets of age and the passions of youth–these are the timeless themes Alan Drew weaves into a brilliant fiction debut.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

This 2008 novel by an American who taught in Turkey is laid at the time of the 1999 Izmit earthquake, and has as its characters a Kurdish family living in the area of the earthquake and an American ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tjsjohanna - LibraryThing

Like many good books, this is a complex story with many layers and ideas. Although there were characters on all sides of these lines, they were all sympathetic and their points of view were valid and ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
12
Section 2
28
Section 3
32
Section 4
38
Section 5
48
Section 6
50
Section 7
64
Section 8
68
Section 21
154
Section 22
164
Section 23
172
Section 24
176
Section 25
186
Section 26
194
Section 27
197
Section 28
198

Section 9
69
Section 10
70
Section 11
82
Section 12
86
Section 13
90
Section 14
98
Section 15
119
Section 16
120
Section 17
138
Section 18
142
Section 19
148
Section 20
150
Section 29
221
Section 30
236
Section 31
239
Section 32
248
Section 33
272
Section 34
284
Section 35
286
Section 36
298
Section 37
310
Section 38
320
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Alan Drew was born and raised in Southern California and has traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He taught English literature for three years at a private high school in Istanbul, arriving just four days before the devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake. In 2004 he completed a master of fine arts degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching/Writing Fellowship. He lives with his wife and son in Cincinnati.


From the Hardcover edition.

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