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Gardens Of Water by Alan Drew - Book Review

In the debut novel Gardens of Water, an earthquake, both physically and metaphorically, shatters the lives of two very different families. This collision sets the families on a path of sacrifice and pain so deep the reader is compelled to continue, hoping for happy ending, yet unable to imagine what that resolution might look like.

Sinan, a devout Kurdish Muslim, lives with his wife, teenage daughter, and young son outside the city of Istanbul. In the apartment above them lives an American Christian, Marcus, with his own wife and teenage son. After a party celebrating Sinan’s son’s entry to manhood, a devastating earthquake strikes. The earthquake does more than destroy these two families’ homes; it destroys everything each man holds dearest.

Soon Sinan’s family is living in an American refugee camp where Marcus attempts to befriend them. What was once an innocent flirtation between the two teenagers turns into a dangerous march toward rebellion. Their story is in some ways so typical of any teen love story, yet so much more dangerous in their setting. As his daughter’s rebellion swells and his son’s nightmares unfurl, Sinan labors to gather funds in order to return his family to the unspoiled small-town of his youth. There, Sinan believes, he can protect his family from Western influences. But, as the teen lovers hover dangerously close to an edge, the tension builds like a wall of loose brick awaiting another earthquake. The reader knows it’s coming, can feel the little aftershocks; yet when the proverbial earthquake happens, the reader is devastated along with the characters left standing.

Gardens of Water might first appear a convoluted read, but the actual reading is so smooth and well driven one forgets the multi-layered complications involved in Muslim and Christian relations. The writing is vivid and enlightening with perfectly building tension. The teen scenes are Romeo and Juliet inspired, each heartbeat quickening the tale. My favorite quote from the novel is so very poignant (especially to this empty nest Mom): “Our children are not ours. That is our mistake. We think they are. It seems so for awhile – but they aren’t. They never were.”

Gardens of Water also provides an exceptional look at the American influence in the world and the Muslim desire to hold onto it’s own traditions. There are enumerable cultural perspectives and the negatives of each religion are evenly portrayed. The appendix of author conversations offers further enlightenment.

Gardens of Water is a brilliant story to be especially enjoyed by lovers of historical fiction, or those enjoying themes of conflict between religion, culture and modern ideals, or remorse for past decisions, or the blossoming danger of forbidden love.


Buy Gardens of Water HERE

© 2007-2009

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