Honor by Elif Shafak (Book Review)


Elif Shafak
Read: January 4, 2016

I started off with this book very slowly, wanting to read it with full comprehension, just because I love Elif Shafak's writing style, and because I was reading it in the original language (English). Well, that wasn't possible. As I drew closer to the middle of the book, I found myself reading it while everyone else slept, taking all the breaks at the university to read a few more sentences, and, even overcome with fatigue, finishing it tonight.
It is hard to find the right words to describe my feelings after reading this book. It was a great read – something I have not had in a long time. I haven't read something so beautiful, yet equally painful, in a long time, and now, I find myself speechless.

„Tell me, if you teach someone the alphabet, how can you stop him from reading? When one has tasted the elixir of love, how can she not thirst for it? Once you have seen yourself through your beloved’s eyes, you ’re not the same person any longer.“

Oh, Pembe, how I wish you had lived that love you'd experienced for a short time. How I wish so many things about most of you! At least your two youngest children found their peace. And you, too, found yours with your beloved twin, Jemila.

„Once I wished to be the centre of the world, but then I came to accept that I was only one of the many characters in a story, and not even a major character at that.“

This is a quote by Esma, the narrator of the story, although she is the one who speaks least. I find myself in this quote, that is why I have to put it here. Esma is starting off by telling us about her brother who is about to come out of the prison because he has killed their mother. „Honor Killer“, the newspapers say. As the story unfolds, we learn about many of the characters, family members, and events, which are all interconnected. We learn of the family with only daughters, when the father wanted a son. We learn about the twins, girls again, who come to this family and their destinies. We learn about Pembe's family, her love, and, especially, her son, although she has two more children.
I love the words, yet I am not so good at uttering them, putting them on the page where everyone can see them. I wish I could express my thoughts about this book, yet not reveal the truth. However, I appreciate the things I have learned from it. how a single book can teach you so many things about yourself, about life, through other people's lives… priceless.


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