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Birds without Wings

By Louis De Bernieres

(38)

| Paperback | 9780099478980

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Book Description

Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia - a town in which Chr Continue

Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia - a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries. When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Birds Without Wings is a novel about the personal and political costs of war, and about love: between men and women; between friends; between those who are driven to be enemies; and between Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd, who has courted her since infancy. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.

4 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Eskibahce is a town in which for centuries Christians and Muslims lived peacefully together for hundreds of years. There peaceful life in a beautiful but wild and isolated region is shattered when Greeks and Turks declare war against each others nati ...(continue)

    Eskibahce is a town in which for centuries Christians and Muslims lived peacefully together for hundreds of years. There peaceful life in a beautiful but wild and isolated region is shattered when Greeks and Turks declare war against each others nations. Philothei and Ibrahim a Christian and a Muslim, devoted to each other since childhood, are the main protagonists amongst a cast of many, which link the novel together. This is not just the story of their relationship but that of the rest of the community of Eskibahce as well, where Christians and Muslims had lived together quite happily until the so called Holy War disturbs the peace.
    The characters and the setting were interesting and the story flowed well, with the various inhabitants of the town telling us stories through their eyes. Rustem Bey, Iskander the Potter and Karatavuk were my favourites, with some heart-wrenching tales to tell.
    I think I would have enjoyed it even more with a little less history. I got a bit bogged down at times, especially with the chapters concerning Mustafa Kemal, over twenty of them. Some of the war scenes are horrific and this book has certainly taught me about the history of that part of the world. I also understand I think a little more about the racial problems that still linger there in the 21st century.

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    Lindyloumac said on Sep 3, 2009 | Add your feedback

  • 3 people find this helpful

    De Bernieres non mi aveva mai appassionato troppo, nonostante i suoi romanzi latinoamericani si fossero fatti leggere volentieri.

    Questo e' diverso, in qualche modo. Ambientato all'inizio del XX secolo in un villaggio di greci in Turchia, sull ...(continue)

    De Bernieres non mi aveva mai appassionato troppo, nonostante i suoi romanzi latinoamericani si fossero fatti leggere volentieri.

    Questo e' diverso, in qualche modo. Ambientato all'inizio del XX secolo in un villaggio di greci in Turchia, sull'orlo di quello che sarebbe accaduto da li'a poco, e' - secondo me - un capolavoro. Bernieres si supera, e poi si supera ancora, e non siamo nemmeno a meta' del libro. L'ho dovuto leggere due volte consecutive: dopo la prima volta ne volevo ancora.

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    KillingTime said on Mar 3, 2009 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    The story of a Turkish village from before the first world war to the Greek-Turkish conflict of the 1920's and beyond. Full of idiosyncratic characters and human insight.

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    Andy Neads said on Feb 4, 2008 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Review

    I’m not really sure where to start with this review, because this book covers so much. It is set in a small village in Anatolia, in the finaly few years of the Ottoman Empire, just before the forced seperation of Turks from Greeks, and Muslims from C ...(continue)

    I’m not really sure where to start with this review, because this book covers so much. It is set in a small village in Anatolia, in the finaly few years of the Ottoman Empire, just before the forced seperation of Turks from Greeks, and Muslims from Christian. There are a multitude of characters, sometimes they tell their own stories in first person narration, other times a third person narrator details their lives as they intertwine and grow apart.

    The style of writing is very, very readable. But it isn’t gripping. Insted it is a story that you can read and become engrossed in, but never have the sense that it is a page-turner. You are never racing to find out what happens next. Which is a good thing, as it allows you the chance to pay attention to the beautiful language and descriptions on the page.

    De Bernières is probably most famous for his Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and this books deals with the same general part of the world, although it is set slightly before that novel. It also has a shared character, which I didn’t realise until about half way through, other probably figured it out much earlier.

    The book is big. An epic, sprawling all over the history of Turkey, and with plenty to saw about people, nationalism and politics, and all the horrors that they can bring. And there is so much in it that I was unfamilar with I almost felt as though I should take out a history book and read that at the same time. But I didn’t, de Bernières makes everything understandable. Well, for a certain value of understandable I suppose, and while you do have to pay attention it is so well written that it isn’t a slog to get through.

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    Dee said on Oct 16, 2006 | Add your feedback

Book Details

  • Rating:
    (38)
    • 5 stars
    • 4 stars
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  • English Books
  • Paperback 640 Pages
  • ISBN-10: 0099478986
  • ISBN-13: 9780099478980
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Publish date: 2005-06-11
  • Dimensions: 258 mm x 844 mm x 1,283 mm
  • Also available as: Hardcover , Audio CD , Audio Cassette , Others , eBook
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