Book review: The Dervish

The Dervish

The Dervish


Frances KAZAN

256 pages

Published by Opus on February 19th, 2013

Ebook received from Opus
via Netgalley

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

   hf-reading-challenge-2013 New Authors 2013

aroundtheworld2012   2013 Ebook Challenge

European RC 2013


Going on with my world tour of 52 countries started last year, I just visited Turkey with The Dervish.
Once again, I got caught by the format of the book (letter, with memories) and the intensity of the historical events, so that I had to go back and check if this was fiction or nonfiction.

The story is set on the background of an essential time in Turkey history: just after World War I, with the Allies disastrous tries to cut the country into pieces, the conflict between the Turks and the Greeks (in Smyrna), and the Nationalist Movement (with Mustafa Kemal).

The author translates with passion the beauty of the landscape, and of the people who little by little take over the heart of the American heroin Mary, and the reader, at least me!, especially through the themes of hospitality and traditions.

There are also romance elements, set on the background of the struggle of a people to remain as one, with its own culture. Fierce women fight in areas they are allowed to, to defend their country.

I enjoyed how the theme of sacrifice was treated, illustrating how to deal with painful memories and what to do then with your present and future.

So if you love history and the complex time of the remaking of Eastern Europe after World War I, I highly recommend this book.

I wrote down a dark ironic quote on page 19, as this prophecy is alas still to become true:

“It is just a matter of time, sis. Lloyd George himself has promised Hagia Sophia will be returned to the Orthodox Church”. 


The first Arab Spring: love and revolution in the air

The first Arab Spring: revolution and passion seethe and erupt in this action-packed romance during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. Kazan’s novel takes us intimately behind the veil, to see and experience the Ottoman world,to let us view, from the “other” side, how the cultural and political antagonisms between the Occident and the Orient of the past century look. There are no easy villains or heroes in this story. Only ardent, unforgettable characters.

An American war widow seeks emotional asylum with her sister at the American Consulate in Constantinople during the Allied occupation in 1919. Through a cross-stitched pattern of synchronicity Kazan’s heroine becomes a vital thread in the fate of Mustafa Kemal (later Ataturk) and his battle for his country’s freedom. Based on firsthand accounts of the Turkish nationalist resistance, THE DERVISH details the extraordinary events that culminated in 1923 with the creation of the Republic of Turkey.

THE DERVISH is the dramatic culmination of Kazan’s acclaimed novel Halide’s Gift, the story of two sisters bound by an extraordinary friendship, and torn apart by their love of radically different men. Translated into seven languages, the novel, according to Publishers Weekly, uncovers “an Islamic world on the brink of change [that] is carefully detailed and convincing.” [Goodreads]


Frances Kazan

English born Frances Kazan is a writer, lecturer, producer and arts supporter.

Frances Kazan has two adult children, and has lived in New York City for more than thirty years. Every week she volunteers at a shelter run by Sanctuary for Families – a private non profit organization that helps abused women and children.

Her interests include performance art, dance, hiking, reading, opera and contemporary classical music. Her travels have taken her to almost every country in the Middle East, India, Bhutan, Tibet, Russia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and many countries in Europe. She hold undergraduate and Masters degrees from and New York University, and is a member of Society of Women Geographers, the American Turkish Society. [from her website bio]





11 thoughts on “Book review: The Dervish

  1. Pingback: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013 « Words And Peace

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