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Abide with me 

I’ve just put back Abide with me by Elizabeth Strout on my little bookshelf. It has been a very interesting experience. I have to say, if I read a lot, it’s not really the kind of fiction I usually enjoy. My feelings are quite mitigated, not because of the quality of the narrative nor Strout’s writing… and frankly, it’s the first time I feel so confused over a book that I don’t even know where to start. So, I will play it safe and give a quick summary of the story.

Tyler Caskey is a reverend in the small town of West Annett during the 50s. Facing the loss of his wife, Lauren, he is struggling to not only raise his daughter Katherine, but also to keep his foothold in a community he feels more and more alienated from. Overwhelmed by his duty, tired he’s trying to pick up the remaining pieces of his life to start anew. 

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Elif Shafak: The Architect of Love

I am a French literature lover. Really, I am. I’ve started reading at age 4 and never stopped since with an ever growing love for my native language. It has something magical to me, a poetry I couldn’t find anywhere else. Baudelaire and Duras are my ultimate favourites. But since I live in a place where putting my hands on French books has been quite a challenge, I now mainly read in English.

Going from book store to book store, I stumbled upon many books from the same author, Elif Shafak.  To be honest, I was first attracted by the gorgeous covers more than the stories. I mean, I knew nothing of this woman before I set foot in Kuwait one year ago, so forgive my shallowness.

Elif Shafak is a prolific writer. I still have many of her oeuvres to discover but everything in its due time. However, three of them have caught my attention so far:

  • The Bastard of Istanbul
  • The Architect’s Apprentice
  • Honour

Three stories with very different backgrounds and even timelines: if The Bastard of Istanbul takes place in a very modern Turkey, both The Architect’s Apprentice and Honour take you more or less back in time. Nevertheless, Shafak affectionates a common theme throughout all of them — love and family.

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