Powerful, emotional, and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s
stunning first novel brings to life two unforgettable families—one Kurdish, one
American—and the sacrifice and love that bind them together.
In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan Basioglu, a devout
Muslim, and his wife, Nilüfer, are preparing for their nine-year-old son’s
coming-of-age ceremony. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, Irem,
resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents. For
her, there was no such festive observance—only the wrapping of her head in a
dark scarf and strict rules that keep her hidden away from boys and her
friends. But even before the night of the celebration, Irem has started to
change, to the dismay of her Kurdish father. What Sinan doesn’t know is that
much of her transformation is due to her secret relationship with their
neighbor, Dylan, the seventeen-year-old American son of expatriate teachers.
Irem sees Dylan as the gateway to a new life, one that will
free her from the confines of conservative Islam. Yet the young man’s presence
and Sinan’s growing awareness of their relationship affirms Sinan’s wish to
move his family to the safety of his old village, a place where his children
would be sheltered from the cosmopolitan temptations of Istanbul, and where, as
the civil war in the south wanes, he hopes to raise his children in the Kurdish
But when a massive earthquake hits in the middle of the night,
the Basioglu family is faced with greater challenges. Losing everything, they
are forced to forage for themselves, living as refugees in their own country.
And their survival becomes dependent on their American neighbors, to whom they
are unnervingly indebted. As love develops between Irem and Dylan, Sinan makes
a series of increasingly dangerous decisions that push him toward a betrayal
that will change everyone’s lives forever.
The deep bonds among father, son, and daughter; the tension
between honoring tradition and embracing personal freedom; the conflict between
cultures and faiths; the regrets of age and the passions of youth—these are the
timeless themes Alan Drew weaves into a brilliant fiction debut. Download and start listening now!