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Gardens of water : a novel /

Main Author: Drew, Alan, 1970-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Random House, 2008
Edition: 1st ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

Drew's first novel takes readers to Turkey, a geographical location not common as a setting in American fiction, and his absorbing narrative is obviously derived from his own intense experiences in that place. A fresh reworking of the Romeo-and-Juliet theme, this version has on one side of the star-crossed equation a Kurdish family driven out of their native Kurdistan region of Turkey by a civil war, now resident in a town just outside Istanbul; on the other side of the equation is an American family living in the same apartment building, and the father is the director of a missionary school in Istanbul. The Kurdish father is anti-American because of his awareness that the U.S. helped the Turkish government destroy Kurdish villages. But he has a teenage daughter, and in the American family is a teenage son. The cataclysm that precipitates a domestic crisis involving both families is a huge earthquake that rocks the region, forcing people from their homes and into temporary camps. A richly detailed, finely plotted demonstration of culture clash.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Drew's well-intentioned if overwrought first novel, cultures clash as a teenaged Kurdish girl and an American boy fall in love over the objection of the girl's father, a Muslim Kurd living in Istanbul. Sinan, a shop owner, tries to keep his American upstairs neighbors, Marcus Hamm and his family, at arm's length. But this is impossible after an earthquake devastates Istanbul, and Sinan and his family end up living in a tent city provided by American missionaries. Marcus, the director of a missionary school, lost his wife in the earthquake; she was found dead, shielding Sinan's son, who was buried alive for three days before being rescued. Now, Sinan watches as his America-obsessed daughter, Irem, falls in love with Marcus's bipolar son, Dylan, and his impressionable younger son, Ismail, slowly becomes converted to Christianity at the camp. The story moves inexorably toward a climax in which Sinan's Muslim pride and Marcus's Christian proselytizing collide with predictably tragic results. Though some may find the ideological conflict that provides the narrative thrust too textbookish, Drew, who lived in Istanbul at the time of the Marmara earthquake, effortlessly transports readers to a wrecked Istanbul and finds shards of hope in the mountains of rubble. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Upstairs, there's cute American boy Dylan and his family. Downstairs, there's love-struck Kurdish Muslim Irem and her family. Then the devastating 1999 earthquake hits Turkey. A highly touted debut; with a six-city tour and book club promotion. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Set in a small town outside Istanbul after the 1999 earthquake, this remarkable debut novel chronicles the complex relationships within and between American and Kurdish families. United by the illicit romance of Dylan, 17, and Irem, 15, two families cope with the losses presented by the quake and the challenges created by their cultural differences. Dylan's father is one of the Christian Americans providing aid in the camp where Irem's family has taken refuge. Her father, Sinan, must spend hours away from home working to support his family while also fighting to preserve their values amid incompatible cultural influences. As the relationship between Dylan and Irem develops, Sinan's inner struggle between love and honor escalates, causing him to make a devastating decision that will end in tragedy for both families. The power and brilliance of this book lie in the skillfully crafted levels of the plot. Readers will find themselves engaged in Sinan's fight to hold his family together while empathizing with Irem's desire to redefine herself outside of her conservative Muslim heritage. At the same time, they will be engrossed in the emerging romance while also questioning the motives of the American aid workers in the camp. Sophisticated teens will be further rewarded with the exploration of changing cultural, political, and religious boundaries. This novel will generate a variety of interesting classroom and book club discussions.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Drew's debut takes place in 1999, outside Ankara, Turkey, where two families--one American and Christian, the other Kurd and Muslim--are entangled first by natural disaster (earthquake) and then by cultural disaster (forbidden young love). Shopkeeper Sinan, adherent of an old-fashioned country Islam, is hostile to Americans. They provided the weapons Turks used to kill Kurds like Sinan's father, and they turned a blind eye to the killings. So he silently deplores the presence, in the apartment upstairs, of an American family. But after the devastating earthquake (the book's best scene), Sinan's only son, Ismail, is buried in the rubble for four days, and it turns out that his survival was made possible by the American woman's self-sacrifice. Buried atop Ismail, she comforted him and managed to shuttle drops of water to his mouth until she died. Afterward, Sinan and his family move into an American refugee camp (a development Sinan resists and reviles), and in those close quarters his daughter, Irem, falls in love with Sarah's rebellious son, Dylan. Meanwhile Dylan's father, Marcus, develops a deep and needy attachment to Ismail, a link to his lost wife. Eventually the perilous intimacy between the families leads to twin crises: Marcus proselytizes Ismail, and Irem and Dylan run away together to the decadent city, leading to further catastrophe. Many characters here seem mainly types, but Sinan is a triumph: complex, knotty, contradictory--real. A solid and persuasive, if somewhat workmanlike novel about lovers crossed not by the stars but by the clash of cultures. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.