Birds Without Wings

Birds Without Wings

Book - 2004
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Random House, Inc.
Louis de Bernières’s last novel, Corelli’s Mandolin, was met with the highest praise: “Behind every page,” said Richard Russo, “we sense its author’s intelligence, wit, heart, imagination, and wisdom. This is a great book.” A. S. Byatt placed the author in “the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh.” Now, de Bernières gives us his long-awaited new novel. Huge, resonant, lyrical, filled with humor and pathos, a novel about the political and personal costs of war, and of love–between men and women, between friends, between those who are driven to be enemies.

It is the story of a small coastal town in South West Anatolia in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire told in the richly varied voices of the people–Christians and Muslims of Turkish and Greek and Armenian descent–whose lives are rooted there, intertwined for untold years. There is Iskander, the potter and local font of proverbial wisdom; Karatavuk–Iskander’s son–and Mehmetçik, childhood friends whose playground stretches across the hills above the town, where Mehmetçik teaches the illiterate Karatavuk to write Turkish in Greek letters. There are Father Kristoforos and Abdulhamid Hodja, holy men of different faiths who greet each other as “Infidel Efendi”; Rustem Bey, the landlord and protector of the town, whose wife is stoned for the sin of adultery. There is a man known as “the Dog” because of his hideous aspect, who lives among the Lycian tombs; and another known as “the Blasphemer,” who wanders the town cursing God and all of his representatives of all faiths. And there is Philothei, the Christian girl of legendary beauty, courted from infancy by Ibrahim the goatherd–a great love that culminates in tragedy and madness. But Birds Without Wings is also the story of Mustafa Kemal, whose military genius will lead him to victory against the invading Western European forces of the Great War and a reshaping of the whole region.

When the young men of the town are conscripted, we follow Karatavuk to Gallipoli, where the intimate brutality of battle robs him of all innocence. And in the town he left behind, we see how the twin scourges of fanatical religion and nationalism unleashed by the war quickly, and irreversibly, destroy the fabric of centuries-old peace.

Epic in its narrative sweep–steeped in historical fact–yet profoundly humane and dazzlingly evocative in its emotional and sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is a triumph.

Baker & Taylor
During the finals days of the Ottoman Empire, the young men of the village are instructed to battle the invading forces during the Great War and destroy the peace.

Baker
& Taylor

In a small town in Anatolia in the finals days of the Ottoman Empire, the lives of its inhabitants--Armenians, Christians, and Muslims--peacefully intertwine, until Mustafa Kemal, a powerful military leader, conscripts the young men of the village to battle the invading Western European forces during the Great War, and religious fanaticism and nationalism destroy the peace.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2004
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9781400043415
1400043417
Branch Call Number: FICTION DEBERNIERES
Characteristics: 553 p. : 1 col. map ; 25 cm

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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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