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Monday, March 17, 2008

Gardens of Water

Gardens of Water by Alan Drew, 2008, Random House, $25.00

I read the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this debut novel in December, and with the rush of the holidays and shopping, I didn't truly appreciate the story. But now that the book is out, and I have read other reviews, I've changed my mind. The story is about a Kurdish family and an American family living in the same apartment complex in Turkey. A massive and devastating earthquake literally shakes up the two families, and they become refugees in a tent city. The Kurdish family are devout Muslims and the American family have a Christian background. Each family has a teenager, and there is innocent flirting before the earthquake between the Muslim girl and the American boy. After the earthquake, emotions build around the families' constant tension of living in deplorable conditions and the lack of international aid. A modern day Romeo and Juliet love story develops between the teenagers. This is a beautiful, but heartbreaking story about religion, culture and coming of age in a stressful and volatile location. I would not recommend for light beach reading, but I would recommend this book, especially to book clubs.