Verdict: A consistently engaging novel that asks the question: How strong is love, and what circumstances can it endure?
Author Ayshe Talay-Ongan’s down to earth yet mildly abstract novel, follows the seemingly star-crossed relationship between a young woman and her old friend’s husband.
The story centers around Yasmin, an ambitious Turkish woman from Istanbul. The journey commences with Yasmin’s return to her home country after several years of living abroad. Most of her time away involved completing a PhD in Developmental Psychology from New York University, and not much else. Her love and social life have been perpetually uneventful, despite being wooed by a young suitor named Ibo, who she deems utterly unacceptable and readily avoids. One evening, Yasmin runs into an old friend: Ani. Ani, whom she met in High school, has also just returned to her homeland, after spending several years in Sydney, Australia.
Yasmin is pleasantly surprised at how much Ani has changed. She now has a child and is married. This scenario heightens the dramatic tension of the tale. Ani’s Armenian husband, Renan, is handsome. Very handsome. Although she tries to repress her true feelings, she is instantly attracted to him. To make matters worse, Ani insists that they get together more often. Meeting for drinks and dinner becomes a weekly occurrence, unbearably so for Yasmin. With the passing of time, her feelings only grow. However, she is both shocked and overjoyed, when she learns that Renan shares the same sentiments.
After a brief, far from platonic relationship that she keeps secret from Ani, the social environment in Istanbul becomes volatile. Though never a completely “at peace” country, things start to take a turn for the worse. Eventually Renan and Ani decide to return to Australia. Yasmin makes a similar decision. She moves back to New York. After several months of trying to secure employment as a college professor, she begins a journey across America, overseas, ultimately landing in San Francisco. As the years move onward, she experiences a tragic and unanticipated event involving her father. In response, her priorities change and she is forced to make a painful and incredibly difficult decision.
Turquoise is a well-written, informative and image filled novel that not only explores themes of love and social unrest, but also the elements of womanhood that many authors rarely expound upon.
Reviewed by Rebecca Nichloson for IndieReader
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