Kohinoor By William Dalrymple and Anita Anand

Kohinoor by William Dalrymple Dalrymple tells the earlier history, when the diamond was established as an emblem of power and sovereignty. He does this with his habitual panache, sweeping along the trail from the Mughal court in Delhi to Persia, where the diamond was taken by Nader Shah in 1739, to Afghanistan and then in 1813 to Lahore, where it was worn by the great Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The origins of the Koh-i-Noor, the “mountain of light”, are unknown, beyond the reach even of this book’s two accomplished authors, but it seems safe to assume that it emerged out … Continue reading Kohinoor By William Dalrymple and Anita Anand

THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL By Elif Shafak

Bastard of Istanbul

My second book of Elif Shafak. From one of Turkey’s most acclaimed and outspoken writers, a novel about the tangled histories of two families. The first lines of the book itself are very impressive, ” Whatever falls from the sky above, thou shall not curse it.”
How fate brings together Armounsh and Asya together. Both in search if their past,  little do they know that their past is intertwined. Armounsh is of Armenian origin and Asya is an illegitimate child living in Istanbul. Both meet each other when Armounsh decides to fly from America to Turkey to find out about her family’s past.  The author boldly describes the atrocities towards the Armenian people in 1915 by the Turkish regime.  The author touches many topics and gives a vivid description of Turkey.

I would like to quote the following from the book:

“History, politics, religion, society, competition, marketing, free market,power struggle atone another’s morsel of triumph….”

” In the hope that whatever memories of times past entailed, no matter how dark or depressing, the past would not consume her. The truth is, as much as she hated to admit it,  she knew the past did live within the present. “

The ritual of mourning at the time of death reminds me of rural India.; ” Her cry escalated in piercing decibels and in next to no time her face was crimson, her voice grating, and her whole body shaking.  So miserable was her state and so palpable her pain that the others watched her in awe.”

 

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