Five words from the blurb: Turkey, London, traditions, mistakes, families
Honour is the story of a Turkish family who are haunted by their mistakes. Pembe and Adem Toprak move to London in order to start a new life, but Turkish traditions are never far from their mind. Maintaining the family’s “honour” is vitally important, but this book questions how far a person should go to protect it.
The book started really well with the introduction of some fantastic characters. I was instantly engaged in their story, keen to work out what was happening. It was a little confusing at first because the book jumped forwards and backwards in time, but each chapter was so vivid that I didn’t mind this.
The most impressive thing about Honour is the way it portrays both Eastern and Western cultures with sensitivity and respect. I didn’t know much about Turkish tradition, but this book introduced their beliefs in a way that was easy to comprehend. I understood the dilemmas they faced in maintaining their public image and found the way this impacted on their life in London fascinating.
Unfortunately I lost interest in the story towards the middle of the book. Everything came together and I felt as though I knew where the story was heading. Luckily I was wrong, but I still felt this middle section was overly long and lacked the sparkle of the rest of the novel.
I ended the book with mixed feelings, expecting to award it 4 stars. But this is one of those rare books that improves with time. On reflection it kept getting better – an impressive number of issues were raised and it is only with hindsight that I realised how clever some of the earlier scenes were. I’m sure that even more would be revealed on a re-read, making this a strong contender for the shortlist.
It is one of my favourite books of the year so far and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys character driven novels that investigate how culture impacts on our lives.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
Note: I couldn’t find a bad review for this one!
Personally, Elif Shafak looks set to be my favourite author. JoV’s Book Pyramid
I love Shafak’s style of writing – it is lush and hints at magic realism. Winstonsdad’s Blog
It continues to make you read it even after you have closed the last page. Just a Word