A breath-taking novel about a violent secret that threatens the peace of two interwoven families - now a Penguin Essential.
One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a nineteen year old, unmarried woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion,' she announces.
Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. All the Kazanci men die in their early forties, victims of the mysterious family curse, so it is a house of women. Among them are Asya's beautiful, rebellious mother, her clairvoyant aunt, and their hopelessly hypochondriac sister. Into the midst for this madhouse comes Asya's feisty American cousin, and she's bringing long-hidden family secrets connected with Turkey's turbulent past in her wake . . .
Longlisted for the 2008 Orange Fiction Prize
“A writer whose artistry matches her ambition . . . she has taken on a subject of deep moral consequence”
New York Times
“Unquestionably an ambitious book, exuberant and teeming . . . a novel crammed with characters and themes, not unlike Istanbul itself”
“Wonderfully magical, incredible, breathtaking . . . will have you gasping with disbelief in the last few pages”
“Heartbreaking . . . the beauty of Islam pervades Shafak's book”