Bliss

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Bliss

O.Z. Livaneli

1stPublisher: St. Martin's GriffinFormat: Paperback

Fifteen-year-old Meryem lives in a rural village in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Her simple, conventional way of life changes dramatically after her uncle, a sheikh in a dervish order, rapes her—and condemns her to death for shaming the family. Asked to carry out the “honor killing” is his son Cemal, a commando in the Turkish army. So begins a long, mystifying voyage for Meryem as her shell-shocked cousin ushers her to the shining metropolis of Istanbul where another troubled soul, the Harvard-educated professor Irfan, embarks on his own journey of transformation—one that catapults him into the heart of Meryem and Cemal's conflict. The crossed-paths and interwoven destinies of these three characters makes for an affecting, by turns brutal and life-affirming portrayal of traditional and modern-day Turkey that no reader will soon forget. "Livaneli is an essential force in Turkey's musical, cultural, and political scene."—Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize Winner and author of “Snow”"“Bliss ”is eye-opening and deeply moving."—“Kirkus Reviews ”(starred)"Compelling for] American readers ...hard to put down."—“The Cleveland Plain Dealer”"With lush scenes of Turkish life and nuanced depictions of the characters'] inner lives. . .a convergence of lost, likable souls."—“Entertainment Weekly” O. Z. Livaneli, one of Turkey's most prominent authors, is also an accomplished composer, and previously served as an elected member of the Turkish Parliament. For more information about his background and books, visit his website at O.Z. Livaneli is one of Turkey's most prominent and popular authors as well as an accomplished musician and composer, whose works have been recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. He was held under military detention during the coup of March 12, 1971 and lived in exile for eight years. He studied music in Stockholm, then lived in Paris and Athens, returning to Turkey in 1984. He was one of the founders of the Turkish-Kurdish Peace Movement and the initiator of the Campaign Against Violence in Turkey, and he has made significant contributions to the Greek-Turkish Friendship Committee. He was elected a Member of Parliament in 2002.Meryem, a fifteen-year-old girl, lives in a rural village on the shores of Lake Van in Eastern Turkey. Her simple life changes dramatically after her uncle, a sheikh in a dervish order, rapes her. She is considered an outcast for shaming her family. When she is locked in a shed and left alone for days, she comes to the painful realization that her family expects her to hang herself with a length of rope left on the dirt floor. But she is defiant. As tradition still has it, a judgment must be made in the name of honor. Meryem is told she is to be taken to Istanbul, a shining city she envisions being just over the nearest mountain. Many girls from her village have “gone to Istanbul,” and she assumes it must be a wonderful place since not one has returned. Those girls, however, have actually been the victims of “honor-killings.” Cemal, Meryem's cousin, a commando in the army, has been fighting in the mountains against the rebels. On his return home, he is welcomed as a hero though he has been severely traumatized by his war experiences. His father, who had violated Meryem, charges Cemal with the task of executing his cousin's punishment. As he and Meryem begin their journey, they proceed through the marketplace where the townspeople have gathered, some weeping and others mocking her. In Istanbul, a Harvard-educated professor named Irfan lives an elite existence. He has published many books, hosts a radio show, and seems to enjoy success and jet-set freedom, but then rebels against the routine of his soulless life, deciding to leave his wealthy wife and Istanbul. Irfan charters a boat to sail the Aegean, and by coincidence, his path crosses with that of Meryem and Cemal. They all embark on a journey together that fills their hearts with hope and sets them free. “Bliss” juxtaposes the traditional and modern, drawing attention to human rights violations against women in the Middle East. "Livaneli is an essential force in Turkey's musical, cultural and political scene."—Orhan Pamuk, author of the national bestseller, “Snow”“A brutal rape and the subsequent death sentence on the defiled girl draws one into the disparate worlds of traditional and modern Turkey. This exciting, sensitively written novel educates and illuminates not only the plight of women but also a society in conflict.”—Barbara Goldsmith, Author and Historian "Livaneli's novel paints a picture of contemporary Turkey and its archaic culture and shows how torn this country and its people are . . . Livaneli reveals the beauty and violence of this country, as well as how much collective obedience, respect and honor mold people and keep them from their happiness. This novel is smart, honest, and a singular occurrence in Turkish literature. It allows us to understand Turkey and its people a little better and sympathize with them."—Necla Kelek, German-Turkish sociologist and author of the bestsellers “The Foreign Brides” and “The Lost Sons” "Lyrical, poetic, and magical . . . Livaneli is an extraordinary writer and a master of language, who describes in this book an incredibly violent but at the same time magical, almost surreal world. I like the way he depicts the real and the unknown life of the simple people who live deep within the East with their own age-old codes of life...they show their own 'truth' about life and death, their own views about right and wrong . . . You will read this book in one breath, without a pause."—Mikis Theodorakis, composer of “Zorba the Greek”"“ ”A writer, composer, and elected member of the Turkish parliament, Livaneli offers readers a fascinating look at the diversity of Turkey today in his American debut. The story is told from the perspective of three main characters. Cemal serves in Turkey's army, fighting the Kurd

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