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The Girl from the Golden Horn Paperback – January 21, 2003

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The Girl from the Golden Horn + Ali and Nino: A Love Story + The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (January 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140003082X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An evocative new translation of a second novel by the author of Ali and Nino, this rich and memorable work follows one woman's journeys in the landscape of exile and love in post-WWI Europe. And while it was written in 1938, references to the strained relationship between Muslims and Christians are prescient. Asiadeh Anbari is the young daughter of a Turkish pasha in exile following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Promised as a bride to the former prince, Asiadeh is now adrift in Berlin. She meets Dr. Hassa, a Viennese laryngologist whose attentions prove both terrifying and entrancing. Though Hassa and his Western ways are at times bewildering to Asiadeh, the two fall in love. Said masterfully captures the fragility of their cultural boundaries, and the resulting love story is painfully poignant. Asiadeh pens a desperate letter to her former betrothed, asking him to release her from her obligation to him. Miraculously, the letter reaches the prince in hiding, who, overwhelmed by his own sorrow and loss, responds, urging her to follow any path that may grant her peace. Asiadeh and Hassa marry, although neither proves truly unencumbered by the past. On settling in Vienna, Asiadeh seems to lose both her language and bearings, trapped in a cold country in which she is continuously and profoundly misunderstood. It is then that the prince, alone and hungry for his homeland, comes to claim her. What follows is a passionate and heartbreaking story of love and loss on many different levels. Like the Asiatic musical scale referenced so often in the narrative, this novel is hauntingly beautiful, a lyrical and moving tribute to the meaning of homeland. (Nov.)Forecast: Appearing in the same season as Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red, this brilliant exploration of cultural heritage could be a successful handsell to readers interested in Turkish history and culture.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Nineteen-year-old Asiadeh and her father, members of the Turkish royal court, are living in exile in Berlin after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Prince Abdul-Kerim, to whom she was promised in marriage, has disappeared entirely, and Asiadeh is left with no precedence for how a devout Muslim girl responds to such circumstances. Meanwhile, with every step a culture shock, she is learning what it means to live in the West with "nonbelievers," including Dr. Alex Hassa, who presumes to court her and introduce her to an outrageous world of bathing suits, divorcees, and married couples who are childless by choice. It is only after she marries Hassa that the prince-now a New York City-dwelling screenwriter who feels empty without Islam-seeks her out to claim her hand. Said's acute depictions of mounting cultural misunderstandings rival E. M. Forster's, and everything from the descriptions of lavish, fateful parties to the treatment of identity and destiny recalls The Great Gatsby. Set in 1928, the novel could not be more relevant today, and appeals on tragic, comic, romantic, and political levels. Asiadeh is an intelligent and headstrong protagonist, and one gets an excellent look at how hard it can be to accept social conventions that are not one's own-and how words like "dignity" and "marriage" can mean such different things to different people. This is a compelling, important book that raises many questions, and would make a particularly good choice for a YA book club.
Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By abt1950 on March 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The Girl from the Golden Horn" is an insightful novel about two mismatched but well-meaning people. Asiadeh, an upper class Turkish girl living in European exile meets a Hasa, a Viennese doctor. They fall in love, marry, and try to overcome the cultural differences between them, He cannot comprehend her "wild" Turkish nature, and she cannot understand his "modern" outlook, let alone the behavior of his friends. Always in the background are Asiadeh's sense of duty to the Ottoman prince to whom she was betrothed as a child and and Hasa's memories of his unfaithful ex-wife. Although Said wrote the book specifically about expatriate Muslims in a Christian Europe, there is much about the loss of the past and the longing for home that transcends the specific characters and situations. The story is told with wit and lyricism and is a good read for anyone trying to understand the dislocations of losing one's homeland and culture.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By krebsman VINE VOICE on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
After reading THE ORIENTALIST I was interested in reading some of Kurban Said's fiction. ALI AND NINO was not available, so I picked up THE GIRL FROM THE GOLDEN HORN. This is a very peculiar book, I think. The heroine is an intelligent young female member of the exiled Turkish royal family studying Oriental languages in Weimar Berlin. She attracts the attention of a recently divorced young doctor who woos her. I was appalled when she writes a letter to the missing prince she was betrothed to stating that she wants nothing more than to be his slave and wash his feet, but if she does not hear from him, she will marry the doctor. I just don't understand this sensibility. But as I continued reading I felt that I gained some insight into the mentality of the Muslim woman. The novel is at its best when it depicts the woman navigating her way through an alien culture that is extremely decadent in comparison to her upbringing. Although I could not identify with her, I did understand her sense of displacement and did empathize with her during a painful chapter when she feels that she is a complete outsider at a social engagement. I think we've all been there at one time or another. Said captured the experience quite well. I guess the novel would best be described as a romance novel for intellectuals. It has many elements of a romance novel: a mysterious playboy prince, a rich and handsome young doctor, exotic locations in Europe, North Africa and Asia, costume balls, posh resorts and an attempted rape. But the heroine is an intellectual able to discuss religion, philosophy, history, anthropology and medicine in numerous languages. This is not the usual milieu of the romance genre. As a novel, it is far too dependent upon coincidence to be considered a first-rate work, but I nonetheless found it an interesting and insightful reading experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norman Brenner on June 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A young woman, in exile with her father from the defunct Ottoman court, must choose
between two suitors: a European doctor and an ex-Ottoman prince. The details of
life in exile in interwar Berlin and Vienna make the book worth reading, as does
the conflicting yet sympathetic points of view of the protagonists. One very funny
scene is when the ex-prince introduces himself to a Viennese nerve specialist,
who begins muttering, "Megalomania. Casus gravissimus."
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