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Clare ClarkThe real pleasure of The Snake Stone lies in its powerful evocation of the cultural melting pot that was 19th-century Istanbul. Goodwin is a historian by training, and his sharp eye combines with a poetic style to bring the city vividly to life, from the night boatmen in their lamp-lit caiques to the scents and colors of the bazaar to the food that Yashim lovingly prepares. Bitterly regretting the loss of his manhood, Yashim has sublimated his stolen desires into the sensual pleasures of cooking, and the book is crammed with mouth-watering descriptions of creamy pilafs and delicate mezze. The spice-scented flavor of this book lingers long after its plot is forgotten.
—The Washington Post