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by Alan Drew

Download Gardens of Water eBook
Alan Drew
BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC; First Edition edition (2008)
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Gardens of Water book.

Gardens of Water book. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching/Writing Fellowship.

Gardens of Water is an enthralling story of two families, and two faiths, in Turkey at the time of the cataclysm of 1999. She sees in Dylan, an American boy and her upstairs neighbor, the enticing promise of another life.

Powerful and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s Gardens of Water marks the debut of a brilliant new American writer. RHRC: What other books would you recommend for those who enjoyed Gardens of Water?

Powerful and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s Gardens of Water marks the debut of a brilliant new American writer. About Gardens of Water. 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.

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gardens of Water. Print Word PDF. This section contains 1,141 words (approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page). Gardens of Water" is written from a third-person point of view with specific focus on the thoughts of Sinan and Irem. Each chapter is guided by the actions of either Sinan or Irem, and their inner thoughts are explored by the narrator.

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

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. Their headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter, İrem, resents the attention her brother, Ismail, receives from their parents

About Gardens of Water

About Gardens of Water.

It wasn’t that she didn’t like it, exactly, but people stared. The boy turned around in the seat, his brown eyes hovering above the backrest, until his father tapped him on the head and turned him around. She watched the backs of their heads, the child’s cantaloupe-shaped, like his father’s, each with a swirl of black hair spinning out of their scalps. She imagined the feel of smail’s hair in her hands, so thick, so coarse like.

Sensitive and thought-provoking, Gardens of Water is set in a perfectly realized Istanbul, a city where traditionalism and modernity grind together like the fragments of a collapsing building.

341 pp. Random House. Continue reading the main story.

  • Insanity
The remarkable novel is well-written, compelling, and full of well-developed characters that have stuck with me long after I closed the book. The story line was so smooth that I read it in one weekend in spite of not having the time, and honestly, I'm glad I took the time for it it, because it enriched my life. Thinking about it, there are four things about the book that I found most compelling. Really, the whole book was compelling and I will be looking for more by this author, but here are the four best things.

The author's grasp of the teenaged daughter's life struck me. He laid out her world so vividly that I kept checking the author's name to see why he understood a young Muslim girl's life so well when he wasn't a young Muslim girl. And while I'm not a young Muslim girl, her story is more extreme but still, in many ways that of young girls' in the world of over. I was drawn to her throughout the book, wanting to hold her, to reassure her, to tell her to hold on until she was in the peaceful, knowing understanding arms of post-adolescence. A second teenager, a boy, in the story, is a classic teenaged boy not in the literary sense but rather like my teenage boys were - and it's a refreshing change from books I've read in the past to see a teenage boy who is more human.

The story of fathers struggling to help their families in the face of devastation, and behind that story, mothers struggling to do what's right as well, is throughout this book. What is right is not always what I think is right, though, and I was frustrated frequently.

A villain lurked in the background, waiting to destroy everything one father fought to gather for his family throughout this story, and I hated that man. But, of course, the father didn't see the wolf in sheep's clothing, making me want to scream all the way through the book. And a greater evil lurked over everything. I could see it everywhere. I didn't realize how bad it was until near the end.

The story of the clash between the Muslim world in Asia, whether Kurds or others, and the Christian Western world, whether Americans or Europeans, is laid out in stark relief in this book I found myself looking up the author to see if he had a clue about what he was writing so intimately about. I discovered that he actually has first hand experience and knowledge. And what he was writing made a lot of sense. I hadn't thought about the Asian Muslim / Western Christian clash in quite this way before. I guess I should actually say, what he's writing is not really new, but it's much more clear, clean, and well-explained than I've ever seen before. That is, it's the same line I've heard said for years, but it's been reworked so well, that I'm actually hearing it now.

In general, this book is well worth reading for several reasons. I even recommended it to my husband, who only reads about one fiction novel every three years because nonfiction is his thing. I can't recommend it enough.
  • Zeueli
Fascinating, superbly written novel that keeps you not only reading (late into the night, even), but also keeps you thinking, deeply, about complex, conflicted, and therefore uncomfortable human issues. These include values (your values, perhaps), beliefs, practices, differences, loss, and displacement. Drew also shows us, step by step, how the fabric of daily life can unravel among those who survive some massive calamity - in this case the horrendous 1999 earthquake that devastated the Izmit area of Turkey, but this type of familial and sociological disintegration could just as easily be the result of war or of a monster hurricane, fire, or flood, so there is a universal quality to this book. Readers are also drawn into the multi-layered issues of parenting, of living as a marginalized "Other," of cross-cultural stresses and wounding, and of the dark underside of international NGO crisis intervention. Drew definitely gives us a wide variety of important matters to ponder.

While I recommend this book enthusiastically, I only give it 4 stars, for two reasons:

First, Drew introduces several characters who are sufficiently fleshed out to the point that readers want to have them at least reverberate throughout the book, but Drew simply drops their influence on the main characters and the plot. It is disappointing that a skillful author like Drew, who does such a compelling job of character creation, eventually demotes some of his people to the realm of being nothing but paper dolls ... people who once mattered, but then, don't. The character named Ahmet is a prime example of this. Ahmet's loss should have played a major role in the on-going trauma affecting this novel's central family, but that impact is just not there. That's jarring, and if Drew meant it to be jarring, then he needed to bring the reader along on that score.

Second, this author uses all the simplistic, demeaning, lopsided stereotypes whenever he deals with the Americans in this novel. I suspect that, like many of us who have spent a significant amount of time living "elsewhere," Mr. Drew's time spent teaching in Turkey ended up saturating him with that particular kind of anti-Americanism so often found around the world. While living outside the United States and learning to see our country through other eyes can be a very significant plus, we also can - after a certain amount of time abroad - lose our objectivity and become, instead, stuck in the often self-serving anti-Americanism that people of foreign countries frequently use to make themselves and their way of life seem superior to anything they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as "American," to service their own domestic political agendas, or to set up that very human game of "Us against Them." This novel's character of the American named Marcus, for instance, is the only one Drew even tries to give a fully-human, complicated personality and set of problems, but then he wrecks that effort by turning Marcus into yet another insensitive+deplorable American. That's a shame, because the non-American characters in this book are never trashed that way. The reader may be left with this question: did Drew settle for stereotyping Americans, including Marcus, in order to boost international book sales, to appeal to audiences who will buy into anything that scapegoats or denigrates Americans?

All things considered, however, this novel is well worth the reading, and the thinking it inspires.