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Young Turk: A Novel Hardcover – June 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his latest novel, Farhi weaves together 13 short tales to tell a powerful story of Turkey just before, during, and after World War II. On the eve of war, people still believe in a Turkish culture that can accommodate any number of races and religions. But Hitler's march through Europe makes this an increasingly dicey proposition for the nation's Jews and the Turks who wish to stand by them. As Turkey begins to unravel, a cross-section of young Turks race toward adulthood in an increasingly polarized world, each in turn telling a piece of the country's beautiful and savage tapestry. In the luminous "Lentils in Paradise," two young boys find honest delight in the pleasures of the body, but soon discover that they can't be children forever after what they discover in the women's bathhouse. In "A Tale of Two Cities," a group of foolhardy teens embark on a plan to save their friend's relatives from persecution in Greece. The story is imbued with the tragedy of a doomed mission. Its honesty captures the ephemeral, sensual and often brutal process of becoming an adult as the book's haunting tone walks the line between a novel of ideas and an extended coming of age story.
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'Moris Farhi shames the willed littleness of British fiction with this novel. In Farhi's writing there is a distinctive collision of traditions which results in something funny, political and unique.' David Hare --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (June 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155970764X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559707640
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Thirteen stories, each with their own narrator, are woven together to comprise this tapestry of life in Istanbul from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s. Although told through many mouths, the people are all somehow related, through friendship, kinship, schooling, or neighborhood. And while each story is it's own carefully crafted meditation on love, longing, friendship, sex, politics, or religion, they are bound by the common theme of what it means to be Turkish. Although the emphasis is on Turkish Jewry, narrative voices run the gamut, and include Muslim, Christian, Greek, Armenian, Donme, Gypsy, Levantine, and more, all of whom are proud Turks.

Most of the stories are concerned with earnest teenagers attempting to discover their place in the world. A world that is increasingly precarious, as World War II sets Europe ablaze and threatens to draw Turkey into the flames. For many of the characters, there are Jewish relatives to worry about, especially those in Nazi-occupied Greece. Several stories, touch upon the plight of the historically Jewish city of Salonica, where 90% of Jews were deported to death camps. The most memorable story revolves around the plan a few of the teenage boys have to sneak across the border in order bring of the boy's relatives back to Turkey using stolen British passports. Another memorable story revolves around a punitive tax imposed on all minority groups in 1942, when Turkey flirted with aligning itself with Germany. This was designed to strip all minorities, especially Jews, of their wealth, and was repealed 18 months later. The story concerns the efforts of people to help their Jewish neighbors.

Two figures appear throughout the stories as exemplars of what it means to be Turkish.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eliza on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazon Service: Price, delivery ---all Excellent

Novel: A fictional account based upon the author's growing up in Istanbul, Turkey in the late 40s & early 50s. Events (told by different characters) allow for philosophical observations and discussion. One event (a character deciding whether to attempt to fight multiple attackers or to run) parallels a theme in the larger story. Young Turk: A Novel
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