Birds Without Wings

Birds Without Wings

eBook - 2007
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In his first novel since Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It's a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn't Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: 2007
ISBN: 9780307424990
Branch Call Number: OverDrive ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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This is a big sweeping epic about the formation of modern Turkey and the destruction, early in the 20th Century, of the ethnically mixed population (including Greek, Armenian, and Turkish Christians and Muslims) who had lived there in harmony for centuries.


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b
books3819
Apr 21, 2018

“The word ‘Ottoman’ would fall into disuse and disrepute until such time as the inevitable revisions of later days, when the world would realize that the Ottoman Empire had been cosmopolitan and tolerant.” I read for entertainment, as well as for education. Louis de Bernieres' writing style does both. School history books should be written like this. I might have absorbed more, ha, ha. I was sorry to finish this wonderful lesson about the ending of the Ottoman empire, a time where religious tolerance was a way of life. It is a long book-be prepared to allow the time to enjoy it. I certainly was not disappointed.

c
calvoer
Jan 14, 2018

There is something "War & Peace" - like about this book in that stories of characters within a few households alternate with chapters detailing the big picture of political events. I found much of it unreadable and in fact can't believe anyone actually read through the dense fact-filled descriptions of Mustafa Kemal's rise to power or the machinations of dueling adversaries. It's fact after fact after fact.
Not everyone would agree with those facts, however, since the author explains things from a point of view that the Turkish government would be quite pleased about. Yes, a million Armenians were murdered, but that was because they were disloyal citizens!

On the other hand, the chapters about the village fall back into magical realism territory, and in my opinion that doesn't work well for a novel of this type. It's cloying and makes the characters one-dimensional.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 28, 2014

Fast paced, absorbing historical tale of tragic events at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Rich detail and well-written characters make this an entertaining as well as edifying read.

p
porpor
Jul 02, 2013

One of the best books I have ever read. A truly memorable book.

crankylibrarian Jun 05, 2013

A lyrical, yet harrowing tale of a community destroyed by war. As World War I begins inn Anatolia, a village sees its traditions erode. Christians are pitted against Muslims, young men are brutalized by combat, young women become pawns of their fathers, husbands, and communities.More a series of vignettes than a plotted novel, with over a dozen memorable characters and many indelible images of Greek, Turkish, Muslim and Orthodox life at the turn of the century.

d
doroschelch
Aug 08, 2012

Beautifully written and deeply moving account of Ataturk's life and the tragic events connected with the Turkish war of independence and the forced population exchange between Greeks and Turks.

k
klwallen
Jun 16, 2012

Great book.

marybaxter Oct 28, 2010

beautiful... Some of the Rustom Bey military chapters were skipped by my bookclub....but keep reading! The deep and thought provoking look at the true complexities of human interaction beyond our obvious differences.
Enjoyable, yet I feel like I am a better person!

d
Darrelln
Feb 27, 2010

This is a great author. Another amazing book, almost as good as Capt Corelli's

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books3819
Apr 21, 2018

“The word ‘Ottoman’ would fall into disuse and disrepute until such time as the inevitable revisions of later days, when the world would realise that the Ottoman Empire had been cosmopolitan and tolerant.”

“Give me nice polite hypocrisy any time, which is something all of us could profitably learn from the English.” No offence to the English - after all, the author is British.

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