Halide's Gift: A Novel

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Random House, 2001 - Fiction - 345 pages
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Set in magical, mystical Constantinople in the closing years of the nineteenth century, Halide's Gift is the story of a family with a secret, and a society in turbulent transition. At the heart of this beguiling novel are two sisters—one flamboyant and mischievous, the other shy and full of dreams—bound by an extraordinary friendship who will be torn apart by their love of radically different men.

Selima Edib, the aristocratic wife of the sultan's first secretary, bequeaths to her daughter Halide her passionate spirit and her gift—a power nursed within the family for generations, passed on from mother to daughter, and never revealed to outsiders: the power to see and commune with the spirits of the dead. Halide's gift leaves her torn between the spiritual, tradition-bound world of her grandmother and the intellectual world of her father, a deeply conflicted man who defies the sultan's edict to give his daughter the education of a Western woman, despite his loyalty to the regime.

As the story unfolds, Sultan Abdul Hamid plots, through his spies and informers, to crush the increasingly vocal opposition, leaving Halide and her sister, Mahmoure, on either side of a dangerous political divide.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In this quasi-mystical second novel by Kazan (Good Night, Little Sisters, not reviewed), two girls reach maturity in Constantinople during the tumultuous decade 1890-1900.Seven-year-old Halide hears ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Frances Kazan is the wife of the director Elia Kazan. She is the author of Goodnight, Little Sisters, a novel, has an M.A. in Turkish studies, and is a regular contributor to Cornucopia. A member of the Society for Women Geographers, she is board president of The Kitchen, a performance center in Chelsea. She lives in New York.

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