Gardens of Water by Alan Drew

Gardens of Water is a doomed love story between a convervative Turkish very young woman and an American teenager whose father has served as a school principal and aid worker in Turkey for many years. Despite valiant efforts to make it sound authentic, complete with a pronunciation guide to Turkish (who knew there would be letters whose only function is to elongate others’ sound?) the book reads like “My Wonderful Trip to Turkey by Joe American”, which I guess is what it is…

There are two wonderfully captured characters: the American teenager, whose demeanor and attachment to his Walkman (the story is set many years ago: today it would be an iPod) and utter cluelessness about the culture gap feel completely genuine; and the girl’s younger brother who is 11, soccer-obsessed, and desperately seeking love and harmony.

Also noteworthy is a description of the workings of the local Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, and how it’s positioned to appeal to the local middle class.

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Filed under New fiction

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